- The rate of running injuries has actually increased with the existence of more expensive, cushier running shoes. Our feet are looking for stability, and the more padding we land on, the harder we land (in search for the solid ground). The more expensive the running shoe, the higher the rate of injury! Who tells us to buy new shoes every 300 miles? (Besides the fact that I've said that before...ahem) THE COMPANIES SELLING RUNNING SHOES! Worn out shoes may actually be BETTER!
- Some of the best college teams train barefoot! Imagine your one-year old is running out into a street, and you are standing in the driveway barefoot. How you would sprint after your child with your bare feet is probably exactly how you should be running with shoes on! Light on your feet, toes striking the ground first. (Have any of you tried the Vibram Five Fingers? I'd love to get my hands on a pair...the bare footing alternative!)
- Other animals get in one breath per stride. When they reach their limit, they literally have to stop to pant and catch their breath. Humans can breathe multiple times per stride. We sweat to cool off, and we can continue running as we "rest." Because of this, our ancestors outlived the bigger, stronger neanderthals. They could literally RUN an animal down, and women were just as involved as men in the hunt! (Pregnant on the hunt? No problem...just squat on the side of the trail, pop that baby out, and continue tracking the animals). A typical hunt could last 4-5 hours...very similar to the time it takes most people to run a marathon today. Coincidence?
- The best way to eat when training for a big run is to eat like a poor person! Recipes I'm dying to try after reading the book (Pinole and Iskiate--the Chia drink) can be found here!
- Running should be sheer joy! It is, after all, the very essence of what it means to be human. Running should make you not only healthier, but happier, and a better person overall.
- Running is the only sport in which males and females can participate together, and compete on almost equal levels. It's also the only sport we can actually get better at as we age...returning to our 19-year-old pace at the age of 64.
I drove my husband crazy as I read this book with all the insights I had to share with him every five seconds. He was pretty disheartened at the fact that our expensive running shoes could actually be hurting us, but also happy to know that if done right, running should not be painful at all.
As for my personal application of what I read, I've tried two things so far:
- I ran on the treadmill yesterday, and outside with my husband (and the jogging stroller) this morning. Each time, I focused on landing on my toes rather than my heels, and actually letting my toes spread as I landed instead of just relying on the shoes to take the impact. Result? I'm sure I still have work to do. My calves are super sore, but my knees (which have been bothering me lately) didn't hurt a bit! Maybe one of these days I'll brave a barefoot run on soft grass, but not until it's warm.
- This deserves it's own post, but I have one 3-year old, super defiant boy. I decided to take my kids to a local park this afternoon next to the trail my husband and I like to run on. Part of the trail circles the park. It's too cold and wet to play at the park, but we went there just for a run. My 3-year old literally ran around the track eight times. He probably ran close to two miles. And the expression on his face the whole time? PURE JOY! He loved the thrill of running as fast as his little legs would carry him. We came home, he was extremely AGREEABLE, took an awesome nap, and has been happy ever since. I don't know if running is the ultimate solution, but it can't hurt. So for my strong-willed child's sake, running around the park is now on the daily agenda. And as I watch him, I'm going to learn.
Running shouldn't only be the means to an end, but an experience. It should allow you to connect with your body, feel air on your face, connect with others, and feel the ultimate joy of what it means to be human.
YAY for running!