02 November 2011

Form Before Fast

Christopher McDougall, the author of the best-selling book Born to Run, published another article in the NY Times magazine about running today.  It's a great read for anyone curious about running in general, but especially about why the shoes you wear mean absolutely nothing when it comes to preventing running related injuries. Here is a link to the article:  The Once and Future Way to Run

It was a great read for me at this point.  I've discussed some of the points he makes before on this blog, but to recap: there is a natural way for us to run as human beings.  Our bodies were designed to run long distances without injury.  We naturally run this way as children, but we've forgotten how to run over the course of our lives.  Strapping on extra padding and support to our feet has actually increased the injury rate of distance runners over the last 30 years.  If you truly want to run without injury for miles and miles and years and years, it's essential to return to your natural running form.

I've found that this is easier said than done.  Even though I've been running in minimal footwear for almost two years now, I know that my form is still not what it should be.  I experienced some injury and setback in my first year of this simply because I went too fast and too far before I really learned the proper form.  I'm still hesitant to go too far because of this.

Oddly enough, I was just talking with my wife this morning about the possibility of running another half marathon next year.  This article comes at the right time for me.  What I've needed is some more precise direction about how to re-learn proper running form.  The simple exercise he explains in the article seems to be what I've been waiting for.  If you haven't watched the video included at the beginning of the article, go watch it: Video

I love that he actually demonstrates the exercise since the article made it sound more complex than it really is.  It's incredibly simple.  Anyone can do it.  Whether you run in shoes or without them, you need to seriously consider this form of running.  It will decrease your likelihood of injury and increase the fun you will have running.

We're probably like this in a lot of things in life, though.  We jump into something exciting and want to go too far, too fast, too soon.  Life (and faith) is about constantly returning to the basics.  We take off too quickly or head in the entirely wrong direction, but God gently (or sometimes not so gently) molds us back into our proper form.  Quite often, it's in the simplest of exercises that we retrain our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our souls, and get a little bit closer to the form we're meant to have.