Friday, April 20, 2012

Born to Run

Has anyone read the book "Born to Run"?  I am almost done reading it and it is awesome!  It is written by a extreme sports enthusiast/journalist, who couldn't run 3 miles a week without having major joint issues.  So the book is about his quest to learn how to run.  It reads like an adventure novel and it is really well written.  I highly recommend it, especially for people who run and for people who hate running as well.

I haven't run any distance for like ten years until just recently.  I have a snappy hip and it gets sore when I run; it's from a tight iliotibial band (IT) band I believe.  I used to tell people that I only run when I am being chased!  But after learning about barefoot running and forefoot strikes and actually trying it, I think I can run again with out pain.  Fore foot strikes are shorter strides and a whole different motion than the standard heel strike.  There is a great website on this by Harvard University.  So heel strikes can cause some serious impact to our bodies:
 but forefoot strikes do not:
If you look at these graphs that show the force verses time you can see that heel strike have a really sharp rise, that means that over a very short period of time there is a lot of force put one our bodies.  It's like hitting your heel with a hammer with 300 lbs of force (if you weight 150ish pounds).  That impact force goes into the ankle, knees, hips and spine.  Looking at the forefoot strike, the rise or slope is more gradual.  It's difference of someone shoving/punching you with twice your weight (in force) verses someone pushing you gradually, but forcefully.  So forefoot running can be seen as actually a low impact exercise where as heel striking is a high impact exercise. 

So this journalist had to travel far and wide to learn the "secret" to running.  How to run and why we run in the first place.  It is a fascinating book and has inspired me to run!  I have an urge to go run just for the fun of it.  I used to always hate the term "Fun-run".  Running fun?  I don't think so.  But maybe it is after all; it's not just the runner's high.... it is part of who we are.

Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

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