When I was at school I was a long distance runner, I loved long distances 1500m and cross country. I loved being alone and in that zone of running where I could feel my breath, feel my lungs working, the sound in my ears was of my blood pumping, the sound of my breath and the repetitive beat of my feet. Sometimes my mind would pick up on this beat and a little chant would start in my head.
I loved how I could keep a steady pace during the run and the last 100 yards or so I could increase my speed and feel like I was flying along. And it interested me to note that I wasn’t able to do sprints but that long distances were my thing.
Of course once I reached high school all that stopped, sports wasn’t on the timetable while we studied for GCSE’s I didn’t have the opportunity to run much and I slowly became fixed in the mindset of ‘I’m not a runner’.
During adulthood I clung to that meme of ‘If you see me running you’d better run to coz something nasty is on the way!’
I love walking though, I love getting out, being able to walk and quieten my mind sort out problems and come up with ideas. To suddenly stop and realise how deep in the country I am and feel one with nature.
So what’s changed? Why have I swung wildly from I am not a runner’ to ‘I want to run’?
My movement journey really, I have been doing exercise to regain my alignment and steadily working on adding more movement. But it has dawned on me that I have been ‘babying’ my baby somewhat – and watching my son doing parkour, gymnastics, trampolining and so on has got me thinking too. Reading Katy Bowmans book on Dynamic Ageing has made me sit back and think that I could ramp things up a step. And last year I spent so much time exploding beliefs that were not useful to me and moving out of my comfort zone it feels only right to be making this big move.
It is a big move I run a few steps at the moment and my left foot in particular cramps up, I feel heavy and awkward, my knees start panicking and my lungs are screaming.
So it’s starting in baby steps – first get my feet stronger and more mobile – massage with a ball to mobilise the muscles and bones, my toe separators to help with loosening the tight muscles, top of the foot stretch, calf stretch and lots of ankle mobilisers. Way back in the early 90’s I broke my right ankle twice, two consecutive years and of course no I didn’t d my rehabilitation exercises. So I have quite a lot of ‘unsticking’ to do.
Interestingly having made a purpose to intensify my movement and alignment has given me more interest in it, doing things for a reason with a goal .
I have found a barefoot running programme which I will be following and I love that it breaks it down into such small chunks. Currently I am working on skipping (stage 1 without the rope just concentrating on the movement) and running on the spot – looking at me technique forefoot strike and pushing up with my glutes rather than dragging my feet up with my hip flexors.
I love getting into the finer parts of technique and out on walks have been experimenting with a forefoot strike and heel strike and the difference is instant. Heel strike my feet cramp, my knees are complaining, forefoot strike and it feels more fluid but takes a whole lot more concentration.
So that is where I am at right now. I will do a weekly round up so I can see my progress.