As usual, I’ll give a touch of boring history to get things into context. I have for the most part always hated running. I’ve done it. I didn’t die, but it is too mind-numbing for me.
In 2009 I broke my thumb and so I opted to run each day until it healed. At first it wasn’t that big of a deal. I had some coworkers to entertain me during the runs. It was almost fun, like a nice break from the intense Functional Fitness workouts. They were around 3 or 4 mile runs, so a nice 35 to 45 minute workout.
That is when I realized my problems. I supinate, which is when your feet roll out to the side. I should’ve known this since all my shoes wear down on the outside and not the inside. The symptom I obtained was a flaring of my IT band at my knee. I tell you, that stops you in your tracks pretty quickly.
But then….I discovered Good Form Running, thanks to my good friend and Good Form/Barefoot running expert, Jason Robillard.
Next thing I knew and 2011 was the year for fitting in barefoot runs. I did 5 miles many times and even ended the good weather (I’m a fair weather runner) with a 7 mile trail run. I even wrote about Good Form running. I’ll speed up the history here: took winter off, didn’t do so well in 2012 and stopped really prioritizing the runs. This brings us to 2013.
2013 meant I didn’t care about running. Tried out a run in minimalist shoes, but my form was easily lost (barefoot was not an option due to heavy gravel). My knees ached again and I realized my form was horrible, yet didn’t care. So what if I couldn’t run a mile without discomfort! So what!! There!!
Then it hit me – when did I settle for not being able to run 1 stink’n mile? Really? That is when I got motivated and decided to make running a priority for me. I now make sure I get in a mile around once or twice a week when it fits in well with my Functional Fitness workouts. I am starting slow and concentrating heavily on my form. In order to go barefoot-to where my form would self-correct-I would have to drive somewhere. Instead, I am working on concentrating with my Trail Gloves on to where I keep good form. So far so good and my knees are doing well.
The point? Well I need to be able to run a mile or two without a problem. If not, I can’t claim to have an excellent level of fitness. I will not settle! I will not give up!
I have no problem saying I hate running, but I won’t say that I can’t run.
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“I won’t say that I can’t run.” –Perfect! Admirable intolerance!
Is there any way you can do your runs on any kind of off-asphalt surface at all? Also…I know it’s un-sexy to say, but minimal running really didn’t work for me. Loved the theory, tried it for many months, and was so surprised when I went back to a more normal shoe (Brooks Cascadia–not exactly a heavily cushioned one) and my feet started feeling better almost at once.
There’s an alternative hypothesis here: yes, we were born to run barefoot…just maybe not for dozens of miles, all the time. The limitation on all arguments drawn from evolutionary biomechanics is that humans are pretty much designed to die off by 40 years of age or so. Keeping the machine running (heh) after that may require adaptations for most of us, though there will always be exceptional individuals.
I don’t like to run on grass or anything because it is too dangerous. And I like the alternative hypothesis. I am not a die hard at all about running form/styles/shoes/etc. I do know my knees hurt less when I don’t heel strike. I love my minimlist shoes (freedom for my toes, light weight). If I were to go more serious I would go barefoot again and find asphalt to run on. For now, I can just concentrate on the form and stick to the gravel and gravely road so I can just run from my house. Trade off for living in the country 🙂