Modern society has seemingly decided that barefoot runners, including runners that don the weird/gross-looking Vibram FiveFingers shoes, may know the secret to injury-free running, but nobody will listen to them because they’re such extremists. But the injury statistics show that out of all current runners, 79 per cent of them are injured every year. That’s insane. We’re obviously doing something wrong.This New York Times Magazine article has discovered a secret: It’s not really whether or not you run barefoot or with the latest Nikes that prevent injury, it’s the form you use when you run. The writer, Christopher McDougall, goes into a lot of running history, but it boils down to a technique invented in the 1800s called 100-Up that stresses — among other points — no heel landings and always using the balls of your feet. Just by using this method, even arthritic old men who couldn’t run before can now go long distances painfully and injury-free.
The image above shows the various steps to executing this the 100-Up, but the video on the NYT page shows it in motion. (I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why Peter Sarsgaard is inexplicably in the video though.)
Of course, they suggest that doing this barefoot will decrease your injury rate, and they point to various shoes that actually harm, rather than help your stride, by overcorrecting. If you’re a runner, you should definitely hop over and see what the article has to say about the 100-Up form and running shoes. I’ve given up running because of knee problems, but I might just take it up again using this method.
The Once and Future Way to Run [New York Times Magazine]