Running on the track

Running Transformed

In Bodyweight Mastery, Mental Mastery by admin6 Comments

Cast you mind back to many years ago.

Were you ever taught how to run?

I wasn’t.

Running on the trackRunning is just a basic motion that anyone should be able to do with some efficiency. For those who are so out of shape that they can’t run a mile, or a short sprint, without any adverse effects, you have some other issues I won’t get into today.

But just because you can do it, does that mean you’re doing it right?

I have not been a big advocate of running. I look at the research and anecdotal advice of many others who end up with bad knees or backs. Plus I sure don’t want to look like a marathoner.

When I do running its usually sprints, especially hill sprints. Despite the increase in intensity these are a lot safer on your joints. Plus anaerobic training appears to be superior to aerobic training in its healthful effects. In fact, I just located a decent hill near my house so I plan on adding these into my training once again.

Back to my main point. Maybe the reason so many people end up with nagging injuries is that they’re doing it wrong.

The shoes are a big part of it. Fairly recently, I’ve learned that you’re suppose to run on the balls of your feet. If you didn’t have a inch wide cushion with your fancy running shoes you’d realize just how painful it is to heel strike the ground with every step. These shoes completely mess with the natural and supreme architecture of your feet.

Getting Vibram’s or a pair of soleless shoes can help, but even this doesn’t correct everything. (And it can be tough to break into if you’re not use to it like I did in this 6 mile race.)

A couple months back I went in to take a class on Pose running. First off, I have to say this is a weird thing to do, to take a class on running.

And then you feel even more like an idiot when they completely change the way you run.

Its like learning any new physical skill in the beginning. The problem here is you literally have hundreds of thousands of reps of a different (wrong) technique ingrained in you. There are several things to pay attention to all at once…

…lift the heel toward your butt

…raise the knee but not too high

…keep the ankle relaxed

…lean forward but don’t bend at the hips

…stay on those toes

By the end of the session I started to feel like I was getting it, but I knew I’d have to practice much more over time.

Running long distance, or even short distances, isn’t on the top of my goals list right now. (Yeah, at some point part of me wants to complete a marathon without really training for it, but we’ll see when I actually do it.) I believe there are superior methods of conditioning for the most part. But being able to run, and to run easily and efficiently, is something everyone should be able to do.

Don’t get my wrong. I’d have no problem immediately going into a sprint right now, or running for a couple miles if the need was there. But it is something I could improve upon.

Do you have any experience Pose running, barefoot running, or just plain running? What are your thoughts?

In strength,
Logan Christopher


  1. This article was spot on. I train long distance barefoot running as a functional movement, but not necessarily as a conditioning technique. I feel that other methods of conditioning (ie. kettlebell swings and snatches, barefoot hill sprint intervals, burpees) offer more potent stimuli with decent carryover.

    Part of my rationale is psychological: I get bored and tired running at the same pace for an extended time. My other reason is health related: by the time I reach my goal distance, my joints are creaky, my muscles feel weak, and I’ve gained very little overall fitness from my efforts. I hardly even feel an anaerobic burn, I just ache.

    On the other hand, a solid ten minutes of kettlebell work leaves me feeling pumped full of strength and ready to take on the world. Both psychologically and physically, repetition weight lifting builds a stronger person.

    Hill sprints offer a similar impact. After sprinting enough high intensity intervals, slow running feels like a cool down.

    And burpees are simply ridiculous. A single set of100 repetitions is enough to humble most endurance athletes.

    1. @Buh: I’ve been working more actually barefoot recently (just did a 4 mile hike with no shoes) for the other benefits.

      We seem to favor the same conditioning methods too. Hill sprints, kettlebell swings and snatches, burpees and battling ropes are, in my opinion the best exercises possible.

  2. Same experience here. I also use runs (like a 5k) as a test of how well my other training is working. I might do one every couple months just to marvel at how my time drops, and how much easier it is despite the fact I never run more than 400m in one burst during training. I don’t even do that for half my workouts. You truly don’t need to run longer distances to get better at running longer distances. It still amazes me.

    Pose is the way to go. It’s so awkward at first, but it seems to get better quickly. I have noticed that I’m not faster with Pose, but I’m way more efficient. I can keep going longer, I have no pain at all, and if I’m doing a CrossFit-type workout where I would go from running to lifting or pullups or something, with Pose I have much more energy for the other movements.

    I’m constantly scratching my head over the things I was taught over the years – the things “everyone knows” – that are completely wrong. Land on your heels, run long distances to get in better shape, weightlifting will make you inflexible. I have learned more in the last two years than I ever did in the 25 years since I first read a poster on the gym wall about the Nautilus lat pullover machine. 😛 And I have the fitness gains to prove it.

    1. @Scott Moehring: I certainly need some more practice in running Pose. I find your comment “that I’m not faster with Pose, but I’m way more efficient” interesting. Do you think you’ll never to be able to run full speed Pose style?

      I’m always amazed when I see people doing static stretching before anything athletic. I thought that at least was common knowledge these days. I want to scream at them but I keep my mouth shut.

  3. Logan,

    I really did enjoy reading this post. As a matter of fact, I do have some opinions on ‘running’. It might be a little long, but I think you will enjoy my perspective on running.

    Generally, I hate running. On the other hand, I know it is something we should all do efficiently. Am i the best runner? No way! Truth be told, I honestly believe some people are just built to run. Sure–you can improve on running, but somehow some of us (especially me) do not consider running as a natural “movement” even as an athlete. Ironically, everyone has the ability to run and everyone can improve on running, which should make it a natural movement. Personally, I am more of a sprinter. I prefer to run the stairs because you always land on the balls of your feet (which should prevent all the problems you spoke of) or running up hills will allow you to land on the balls of your feet as well. Thinking back several hundred thousand years ago…i am sure there wasn’t thousands of roads. Most cavemen probably ran on grass which will also reduce painful effects on your body when running barefoot. And most of them probably did more ‘sprints’ rather than long distance running? However one of my ‘bench-marks’ is the mile run. So, I know where i ‘stand’ from a cardiovascular perspective. The Mile run is not something i practice, but occasionally do. I still do many forms of conditioning such as boxing, sprints..all that.

    Also, another interesting thing you may find pretty cool is through a personal discovery I made a while ago while camping with two of my friends. One is a superior long distance runner. He can run a mile in less than 5 minutes and can run 5 miles straight pretty damn fast too. Another buddy of mine is a great sprinter–very fast and can jump insane heights. He’s alright at long distance running. Me–I am a sprinter, but no where near as fast as my buddy. I do not even dare to compare myself to my other buddy who runs long distance. Anyways, we were camping right–we were hiking and we came across this steep hill and a big dead tree that was lying on the ground. We decided we thought it would be cool to prop the tree against the hill so we could climb up on it and ‘sprint’ our way up the rest of the remaining space (which was not easy). Well, both my friends tried to lift the tree and cldn’t budge it. I was gonna steer it..carrying it backwards. We switched places and i lifted it with ease and didn’t even need their help (they are pretty strong, mind you.) and placed it against the hill. They bolted up the tree and the hill while i struggled big time. Then later when we all arrived at the top..we tried to make a little ‘fort’ using tall, flexible…but ‘solid’ trees. buddies could climb up the trees with ease and I cldn’t, but I stood on the ground and was able to pull the tree down with my strength.

    The point that I am trying to make is–everybody’s body is built differently. Some are just made to run and it comes naturally to them. Others are power houses. I carried a 100lb log for 3 miles and it felt natural to me. They struggled to carry 50lbs for one mile. I can walk long distances with heavy weights. My friends couldn’t do that. But they are killer runners and it comes naturally to them. Now if you think of the cavemen..I am sure they had a group of people who where in charge of carrying the dead animals back and I am sure there were a select group of people who were able to sprint fast in order to ‘spear’ their prey. Ya know?

    Running barefoot is the way to go. It’s primitive and it will allow your body to adjust on its own back to its original ‘alightment/movement’ if you could call it that? I am not sure about this Pose stuff, but I think if you just take off your shoes and start running on the grass–I think your body will naturally adjust back it the way you’re supposed to run. I like running on the grass barefoot. Or you can start running the stairs or the hills for a longgg time before returning back to flat surface running, you could probably ‘train’ your body to start running on the balls of your feet (through stair running and hill sprints) and it will carry over when you start doing flat surface running? Just a suggestion? Once again, I am not the best runner. Just offering my opinions. Sorry the post was so long!

  4. Running on your heels? OUCH! I never knew people even DID that. I can’t run for more than a few seconds without having an asthma attack (running is the only kind of exercise that triggers it in me), but when I do have to run or job, I am always on my toes. It just makes sense…

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