Last week I told you I had been
tricked into encouraged to sign up for the Hollywood Half Marathon, and I mentioned how it all came to be. But what I didn’t say was that although I may have felt momentarily that I had been pushed off a cliff when I signed up, part of me felt like it would be a good idea.
Granted, it may have been the January, Let’s all jump on the New Year’s Resolutions Bandwagon, but I could really stand to have my ass kicked into gear when it comes to getting in shape. So I thought, what better way to get your butt kicked than by signing up to run a Half Marathon when I haven’t run even a Half Yard in over 35 years?
Sports for Eve is this great althetic gear and running store in Culver City. Besides cool clothes I have always wished I were trim enough to wear, they also have running clinics periodically. A couple of my friends had joined their “Couch to 5K” group, which sounded much more my speed, quite frankly, but that ship had sailed.
Turned out there was a Free Natural Running Clinic scheduled for the next weekend at Sports for Eve and I signed up. Richard Diaz brought his team from the Natural Running Network along and all 50 of us who showed up early that Saturday morning were videotaped as we ran towards camera, away from camera, and past the camera. We then each got to watch ourselves played back in slo-mo as Richard critiqued our style.
The point was not to humiliate, *ahem*, but rather to show us how not to hurt ourselves. Richard swears that we can run without hurting our knees, and since I had arthroscopic surgery a few years ago for a torn meniscus, I needed to make every effort to run pain-free.
The key to the technique is to keep your legs right underneath your torso, not to shoot out too far in front of your body. The long stride we think would make us run fsater ends up being something that can really take a toll on your knees and low back.
The other key thing is keeping your arms from crossing your body. The side to side action can not only slow you down but can lead to back injuries as well. Proper form feels like you’re buffing your fingernails on your clothes’ side seams, and feels quite unnatural at first.
I was skeptical at first, but I have to say, when I am fully conscious of running correctly, it doesn’t not hurt. Whew! So thank you, Richard!
The other thing I needed besides technique was a good pair of running shoes. There are all kinds of running shoes these days, and the big trend is towards minimal shoes. I’m sure you’ve seen the ones that look like the old toe socks I wore in the 1970’s (mine back then were rainbow striped, of course). Each toe fits into its own little spot and they’re thin, like a flip-flop. They seem crazy, but the thinking is that if you run with proper form, you don’t need a lot of padding in the shoe.
Time will tell if that theory is right, but those kind of shoes were just not right for me.
Newton Running is one of companies that makes a minimal running shoe. They’re not quite so thin and they’re traditional in terms of all the toes being in the same place together. They’ve got dozens of styles and their philosophy comes from their namesake, Sir Isaac: part of the show first absorbs and then returns energy to you, along the lines of the Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
When Newton learned I was training for the Hollywood Half Marathon, they graciously offered me a pair of shoes to wear for the race – and they’re bright purple and yellow!
Now I’m no physicist, but I can tell you the shoes are bouncy, which helps keep me going when I train. And they’re super comfortable. Oh, and as you can imagine, they attract a bit of attention. I love my Newton Running shoes and I’m very grateful to the company for sending them to me.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment: Stress Test.