Many years ago, 11 to be exact, I was re-taught how to run. As a 10 year old, I wanted to run a marathon. My mother, the least active person I know, told me I was out of my mind. As the rebellious little kid I was, it only motivated me further. At that time, “pre-internet”, I had to look up how to train for a marathon in the encyclopedia. Believe it or not, there was an entire section on this. Not four weeks in to it, I had my first running injury. Knees. Has been a problem ever since.
Back in 2000, I participated in a personal development training program for chiropractors in Dripping Springs, Texas. Vegan lifestyle (though veganism didn’t stick, the vegetarian diet did for 8 years), running, meditation…quite granola-y.
I watched fifty lb overweight people who had never run a mile in their lives run 8 miles a day for four days. I did too and ran through my knee pain and watched it go away with using proper technique. Though I would recommend a slower start for most people, it was amazing to witness so many people who never thought they could do it accomplish their goals, including myself.
Back to me…(my favorite topic) 🙂 I had originally taught myself to strike on my heels, a big no no when it comes to running. Heel striking leads to a ton of force and pressure being shot back up your legs into your knees, hips and spine. It doesn’t matter how much cushioning your shoes have, do it, you will injure yourself eventually.
Proper running form involves shortening your strike, falling forward, and landing on your midfoot, not your heel. Simple as that. Think about how you would run if you were going up hill. If you are trying to transition after a lifetime of heel striking. Go slow. I personally felt a lot of calf strain while I was making my transition however I feel much better after running now.
One thing Born to Run promotes that I haven’t tried yet is running in minimalist shoes or barefoot running. Over the last year I have noticed that I have had less injuries running than ever before. When I took my shoes in to Gear West to get a new pair I was told that I had been running in semi minimalist shoes. It was the first pair I have had without the stability control. I think that has a lot to do with the fact my knees haven’t hurt. I think my feet are stronger. I bought my second pair of Mizuno’s as well as a minimalist New Balance shoe with the Vibram sole. I’ve been padding around in them in my office all week to get used to them. Haven’t run in them yet but I’m excited to. Stay tuned.