I started and stopped a couple of times last year in trying to add running into my own exercise program as it was just too uncomfortable. Now I’m not against exercise being uncomfortable but there’s a big difference between the discomfort of hard work and feeling like I’m actually damaging my body and it was the latter that I was feeling. I’d heard Chris McDougall on the radio talking about his book “Born to Run” and had a few conversations with a couple of friends regarding barefoot running and running shoes etc and decided to ditch my nice new trainers. It was the middle winter and I wasn’t all that interested in running barefoot so I stuck a very old pair of Addidas Sambas on instead and went for a run.
So what am I getting at here? . Too often people just stick on shoes and “go for a run” but when you watch them it looks uncomfortable, I’m sure I looked that way, there is little bounce or flow to the run and it’s all done at much too slow a speed. You need to go back to basics and learn to run again whether this be barefoot, shod in modern running shoes or somewhere inbetween. If you invest the time to develop the correct technique it will pay you back in the long run with a much freer running style but over do it and, like any other form of exercise, you’ll develop some form of injury.
Where do you start? Focus on short bursts of running mixed with walking where you are thinking in terms of a higher cadence, 180 strides/min, a focus on an upright posture and running a bit quicker, no more slow slogs round Holyrood Park. Anecdotally I’ve seen less injuries in the clinic where the runner is going faster than 8min/mile which might tie in with what is described as the optimal running pace here. It would be worth having a read through the articles on running here which begin with a video clip of an interview with Dr Daniel Lieberman.