Friday, May 20, 2011

Barefoot Running

"When I got into barefoot running, I was a broken runner. Overuse injuries, imbalances, and more had brought me almost literally to my knees, which weren't all that healthy either. Turns out, that wasn't a bad thing at all. It forced me to build back slowly while allowing my body to recover. It liberated me to ecperiment too; with nowhere to go but up, I could try to find the best ways to heal and grow back stronger.

At a recent clinic, I advised a struggling runner with plantar fasciitis to recover, then built back slowly. His response, "That sounds great, but I need to train for my next marathon." How many of us have said something like this? Unfortunately, your body doesn't know it needs to race again, it knows it needs to rest. If you don't give it the rest it needs, you'll never recover.
Many runners struggle year after year limping along. Until you're ready to let go of the goal, to built back stronger, a cycle of pain continues. Sooner or later, you need to step back, take a break, and start from scratch.
Becoming the best runner you can be isn't about brute force, disciple, or training harder. It's about training smarter, be being aware, feeling the ground, and feeling your body. Instead of training on intellect, you're training with intuition.This may sound ambiguous, but the biggest challenge for runners has never been a lack of work ethic of the ability to push oneself; instead, it's been an ability to go slow, go with the flow and listen to one's body. It requires a degree of mental flexibility that's hard when you have goals. However, when you force anything, something has to give, and something always breaks. I don't want that to be you.

My best advise: Don't do everything at once. Rather, pick and choose what seems like the most fun and go for it. Try new things out and feel free to mix up the routine. Our bodies are incredible at adapting to new challenges. So dont get stuck in a rut. Instead, change things up as much as you can. This helps work muscle groups you never knew you had and loosen you up in ways you once thought impossible, so you can become a balanced athlete."

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