Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Article by Christopher McDougall... 100-Up

 I read this article by Born to Run author Christopher McDougall  in yesterday's New York TimesThe Once and Future Way to Run.  The gist of what he's saying, I believe, is that it's not necessarily the running barefoot, though the contention is still that we don't need all the cushioning and anti-pronation devices of the modern-day running shoe, but running with correct form that makes the difference in whether you're going to wind up with running injuries.  And barefoot (or nearly barefoot) running can help your form.

Then he goes on to talk about something called "100-Up,"  an exercise devised in 1874 by a 16-year-old boy in England trying to become a miler.  Here is how it's described by McDougall:

I snapped a twig and dropped the halves on the ground about eight inches apart to form targets for my landings. The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the "Minor," you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. "Now raise one knee to the height of the hip," George writes, "bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg."
That’s all there is to it. But it’s not so easy to hit your marks 100 times in a row while maintaining balance and proper knee height. Once you can, it’s on to the Major: "The body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heels being clear of the ground and the head and body being tilted very slightly forward. . . . Now, spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip. . . . Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running."
 Well, what's interesting to ME about this is that I have been doing similar exercises lately in my physical therapy sessions to get me back to running.  I mentioned some weeks ago how whacked out my whole leg had become from having the disease go undiagnosed in my hip for so long and it changing the way I walked and ran.  And now I have had to, first, get my leg turned back straight and my foot to step all the way down (yes, it really was that bad--and still not there yet).  Lately, I have been doing more dynamic exercises, some kinda like the ones mentioned above...   cool!

I posted a little about Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run and barefoot running back in 2009 (see Archives Sept and Oct 2009).  He's an excellent writer..  the book is really entertaining and fun to read.  Read the Times article, and then read the book, Born to Run:  A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  You can get a copy of it here:

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