Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On running

Our ancestors apparently ran their prey to exhaustion, barefoot, on whatever surface they needed to run on. No, they didn't have cement back in the day, but close enough.

According to recent research, there's no need for fancy shoes when running, regardless of surface. Technology doesn't replace proper technique; not in running, or auto racing for that matter. It just turns out we don't run properly anymore.


Back at the lab, Lieberman found that barefoot runners land with almost zero initial impact shock. Heel-strikers, by comparison, collide with the ground with a force equal to as much as three times their body weight. “Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain.”

So what are we to do about this? This is something I will try, in order to rediscover proper running form :

The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the “Minor,” you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. “Now raise one knee to the height of the hip,” George writes, “bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg.”
That’s all there is to it. But it’s not so easy to hit your marks 100 times in a row while maintaining balance and proper knee height. Once you can, it’s on to the Major: “The body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heels being clear of the ground and the head and body being tilted very slightly forward. . . . Now, spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip. . . . Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running.”

Obligatory Youtube video