On the New York Times Health email today, they featured an article titled Finding a Sustainable Running Stride.
The article mentions nothing about shoes but instead focuses on a form of running called Chi Running, which was developed by Danny Dreyer, an ultramarathoner.
The lack of focus on footwear is huge—footwear can alter your stride. Regardless, it’s a good topic. Many people just start running and don’t consider the fact that they’ve lost the skill.
Two years ago, I was in the same boat—I didn’t know how to run anymore. Then I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
That changed everything and I’ve been running consistently for two years. A few points when it comes to running or any other new activity in the exercise realm:
- Don’t rush in. Americans tend to rush into things and we don’t want to patiently put in the time to master something. We also have a bit of fetish with pushing things to the extreme.
- You don’t need a lot of running (or exercise) to get huge benefits. I run around 2 – 3 miles a week in minimalist shoes and my feet, ankles, and calves are strong and durable thanks to my efforts. Many train for stimulus rather than effect, just like many eat for stimulus rather than nutrition. Doing anything for stimulus immediately increases your risk of overdoing it.
- Take the time to learn what proper form is. There are a lot of YouTube videos that display bad form, so attempt to use social proof when determining who to pay attention to. For exercise, I consider Steve Maxwell one of the greats. You can learn tons from him.
- Be disciplined and consistent. It takes effort and long-term focus to make improvements.
- Measure everything. Everything that is watched and measured improves.
Running is a great skill to have, but if you haven’t done it in a long time, build up slowly. One last tip. Breathe in only through your nose—this will keep you from pushing too hard. If you have to mouth breathe, you should stop and collect yourself.