Not too long ago a good friend of mine said to me,
“You know, if I had to run for my life, I’d die.”
At the time she was struggling with knee and hip issues that were causing a lot of pain. The thought of having to run for a bus, let alone run for her life, was inconceivable.
“If I was in the wild, I’d be someone’s dinner!”
Way back (circa 1994) I remember Tony Leyland, my first exercise science professor, say to the class,
“Sure, we are meant to run, and run fast, but only when the sabre tooth tiger is chasing us….we aren’t born to run 42.2km straight in one go!”
Truth be told, I always think about this comment when I see folks who are training for longer endurance events and are crippled with shin splints, knee pain and hip and lower back issues.
We really are born to run.
The trouble is the way in which we bring ourselves to run.
The way we run (meaning our mechanics) and the environment in which we choose to run on (meaning on homogenous, usually flat terrain, and for distances that are absurdly long) are far from what our body craves. By crave I mean from an evolutionary perspective.
Most of us suck at good, pure, efficient movement.
But it is not our fault.
We’ve Been Tied Up In The Metrics Of Fitness
When it comes to improving activities like running and walking we focus on what I like to call “the metrics of fitness”.
We obsess over our times, our distances, how many times a week we get out there, what race to sign up for for motivation etc.
Yet what must be put in place first, but often never is, is re-learning how to run and walk with the whole body.
When improvements are made in the actual interaction between you and your environment, then movements such as running and walking becomes less of a chore.
Your body improves in more ways than just aerobically.
Wouldn’t you love to go out and move – run, walk, hike – because it FEELS good?