Cultivate a silent footfall.
This principle stems back to the days of Paul Collins. “What you cannot hear from you feet will not hurt you” was one of his favourite sayings. If you can hear your feet slapping the ground there is something wrong. Natural living people and animals run almost silently. Next time you run listen to how much noise is coming from your feet as they make contact with the earth.
Break the habit of running.
If you do the same run in the same style in the same time you are probably in a running rut. Break out of the running habit by hopping, skipping, jumping, galloping or throwing you hand in the air. Try running an uneven beat like a child for a few paces every five minutes during your run. You will find it both exhausting and exhilarating.
Use your peripheral vision when you run in daylight.
If you have got used to looking at a small patch of ground in front of you when you run then you are probably hanging too much weight over the advancing leg by looking down instead of ahead. Check you can see your feet in your peripheral vision without moving your whole head down towards the floor.
Think about what you might let go of when you run.
Are you holding your shoulders, back and thrusting your chest out? Are you holding your arms rigid against your rib cage? If any part of you body is held rigid it will be like driving your car with the handbrake on. Let go of the tension and let the movement flow.
Be fully present whilst you are running.
Many people cut themselves off from their environment and their bodies when they run. Using music to find your rhythm is fine but don’t detach yourself from your own body awareness. Check your profile in a shop window and observe what you are actually doing. Try and describe your running style to yourself. Don't run on automatic pilot as this will keep you locked into habit.
Run with the whole of yourself.
It is easy to fall into a trap that running is all about legs and feet. Don’t cut your body into separate pieces, you run with your whole self from head to toe. Watch a cat or dog run, their whole body is engaged in the process, they lead with their head and open their flanks and flow forwards. Humans are one of the few creatures that can control their breathing whilst running and have a massive muscle, the diaphragm to assist. Holding the stomach in or pushing the chest out can interfere with the natural process of inhalation and exhalation.
Think about what happens when you run, what are your arms actually doing? Listen to your feet and tune in to how they connect to the ground?
Ask yourself if you are open to change?
Changing habit is challenging. Think about the times you may have given up smoking, alcohol or chocolate. It can take time to transit from running in shoes to running without them.
Take a real risk to confront your habitual patterns and consider changing them. Changing your running style is really giving up something you know and trust. But remember, if you do what you have always done you will get what you always got.
Take some responsibility for your injuries.
Take some responsibility for your injuries and believe that change in your running can have a positive impact on your levels of pain. Remember pain is the gift nobody wants. Use your injuries in a positive why to understand how your body works. Look for ways around and through the pain. It is what the body sense does best – if you let it guide you.
There are not many happy looking joggers. The stereotype of grimacing grimly through 10k because it is good for you is painful. Screwing your face up causes tension. Try letting go of the pain and smiling. You will feel better and people will smile back at you.
Barefoot v Shoes – The Debate
Twenty five years ago I started going barefoot. Back then it was a free and hippy sort of thing. After being barefoot through the Summer of Love my feet spread. They seemed to
The Starting Point
I ask myself: Where have I been with 20 years of teaching Natural Running? Where do I want to go to in creating of the Natural Running website. But the key question is, as always: Where am I