Friday, June 18, 2010

I don't know how to run.

So running didn't seem like something that would require a huge skill set. After all, my nieces (1 1/2 and 4) manage to do it all the time. Humans just know how to run.

Or so I thought.

Apparently, according to my expert-runner husband, I don't have proper form. This is amazing to me - isn't running just walking sped up? Apparently not.

It turns out I'm a heel-striker. This means that when I run, I land heel first. I thought you were supposed to do that - after all, I walk heel-toe, why shouldn't I run heel-toe? Apparently coming down hard on your heels is what leads to shin splints, and to the pain I was feeling in my shins after week one of running. When I did a search for "heel strike," I even found a forum post where someone threatened to punch the next person he saw heel striking. I'm going to hope he doesn't live in my neighborhood.

It seems that the reason most of us run heel-toe is because we wear shoes. Take a look at the running shoes in the store - most have a really built-up heel, which cushions you from the impact of crashing down on the heel of your foot. Barefoot runners land more on the ball of the foot, as landing on your heels without any cushioning would hurt like crazy. This is the way our ancestor ran back before someone invented shoes. There is a resurgence of barefoot running now, and some crazy looking running shoes designed to help your run more like a barefoot runner but still protect your feet from hot sidewalks, broken glass, etc. You may have seen people in these shoes, Vibram Five Fingers.

I'm not ready to trade in my New Balance yet, but I do want to try and run "properly." Let me tell you, if you've never run this way before, it does NOT feel natural. As if I needed something else to think about while I'm running! I'm concentrating on not passing out, breathing, not running into parked cars, low hanging trees, and adorable neighbor's kitties (who I would definitely stop and pet if I weren't doing this cursed running program), various aches and pains, and whether or not my running gear is working the way it should.* I really do not need something else to think about. But I don't want to get the dreaded shin splints, nor do I want that guy from the running forum to see me running and punch me, so I'm trying to run with good form.

Today was Day 2 of Week 2 of c25k. It's harder than I expected, since Week 1 was pretty smooth sailing for me. Week 2 is really reminding me of all of the reasons I hate running. But I'm committed, and I have my wonderful husband by my side, cheering me on and telling me he adores me, even when I'm sweaty and red-faced. I'm not giving up. Yet.

* As much as I dislike running, I LOVE running accessories. There will be plenty of gear-review posts in the near future

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