At the suggestion of one of my weight loss clients I am reading Christopher McDougall’s Born To Run. I have been amazed at how it has moved me and how it fits in with my current perspectives on life.
The book talks about running as something mankind genetically evolved to do which is a major contradiction to the view of most medical people at present. I am currently seeing a physiotherapist and she has been looking at my running style. I was told I was too on my toes and needed to change to a more heel to toe action. This book seems to advocate different foot action which is probably closer to what I was doing. I was searching the internet on a couple of words related to the book and drifted off into a couple of videos on running styles and the difference of running in cushioned shoes and running barefoot. Again I noticed the style of running being suggested for me seemed to be going the wrong way.
Now when I face a conflict of advice I consider peoples expertise’s and my instinctive reactions. Unfortunately my physiotherapist is just one person and there was no evidence asked for or given. On the other hand the book quotes some interesting “expert” sources and my very limited search of the internet happened to show me more evidence the way of the book. I therefore am experimenting with a running style that might be closer to what the book suggested.
I have made two runs so far. The first was about 20.10 which is not far off my personal best until last weeks “fluke” run. The main change of style for me was not to move my legs forward so much but to kick them back towards my bottom and make fast small steps. (it is suggested 160-180 a minute) The run felt hard and I was disappointed with my time when I saw it as for some reason I felt it felt fast. Amber my Cocker Spaniel runs with me and I think she struggled on that one so perhaps I felt faster.
This morning I ran again and decided I should focus more on the style not the speed. Amber to my surprise was in front of me which is unusual for her except she didn’t get a walk yesterday. And while I was “tired” I generally felt I was talking it semi-easy. Certainly it was less effort than it felt on the previous run. I have been wondering why I would want to aim to kick my bottom with my back kicks. It didn’t seem logical but today I got a sense of what might be going on. By lifting my foot so high backwards I am then using the weight of my foot dropping/swinging to move forward. Perhaps this saves my upper legs more. By kicking back I am doing an exercise that my physio wanted for my knee so what seems to be going against my physiotherapist might actually be helping me in her mind too. And to my surprised I clocked a new personal best 19.43. I have not done a distance run since my knee started playing up and I am now getting very curious to see what happens.
My Initial tests seem to suggest it is right to go the way I am going. I will keep reviewing things however.
So the key points from this experience are:
- Reading can inspire improvement
- When faced with conflicting advice evaluate the expertise of the person(s) giving the advice. Consider others sources. Consider you own experience and go with what feels the best way for you.
- Conflicting advice can often be more in harmony than is first seen
- Make a change and see what the results of that change are.