The other day, Chris McDougall, NY Times columnist and author of Born to Run, published a piece on the importance of good running form called The Once and Future Way to Run. In it, he describes his concern over the way that barefoot and minimalist running footwear has not by itself deleted the heel strike, or magically created a bunch of runners with perfect form, as once surmised it would. He writes about the New York City Barefoot Run in September of this year, an event that I attended. During the run, Peter Larson, an evolutionary biologist at St. Anselm College, filmed all of the runner’s scantily-clad feet. And despite our lack of shoes, the video caught a ton of us heel striking.
I like to believe I wasn’t one of those heel strikers, but even still the thought makes me want to re-evaluate my form. For the last several months I have been perpetually injured. I have been in the mindset that my injuries have been caused by overuse or some other excuse that helps me to more easily reject the idea that my form needs work. But if I’m getting injured at all, something is missing. It’s either a lack of good form, strength, basic ability or a little of everything…I need an overhaul.
At the end of this article McDougall posted a video introducing what’s called the “100-up Method.” It’s an exercise developed in 1874 by a runner named W.S. George. George didn’t have enough time to run during his lunch hour, so he did this exercise instead. The 100-up exercise made him a smoother, lighter runner with perfect form, and over time he was able to earn world records in several distances.
So I watched the vid a few times and thought to myself, hey, what the hell, I’m going to do this. I’m giving myself this challenge: practice 100-up every day for a month, and see if it does anything. If I like the results, keep doing it.
Today I got to 68 “minor ups” before I wonked out. The rule is that as soon as your form starts to slide, you stop and call it a day. I look forward to seeing how this goes.
So Check out the video, folks. Try it for yourself. It might make a world of difference, it might not. But I think it’s worth a go. I hope you’ll check back in a little while and let me know how it went for you.
- Review: Merrell Women’s Dash Glove (barefoot-monologues.com)