Run Lighter: Say No to “Pounding the Pavement”

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by VALERIE HUNT

Run Lighter: Say No to "Pounding the Pavement"

If you can hear your feet, can you imagine what your body is feeling? If your running is loud, the sound comes from the foot landing out in front of you.
Have you ever been next to a runner and you can hear their feet “pounding” the pavement? Or stomping the box during box jumps? Or maybe this is you? I was this person, too, pushing off my back foot as hard as I could, then sticking my heel out in front and crashing down to the ground — also known as the “accepted” mode of running which usually leads to either an animosity towards running or the inevitable injury. I went the injury route and went through hamstring pain, shin splints, and plantar fascitis for several years.

When I first started running 20+ years ago, everyone wore injuries proudly, like badges of mileage honor. Comments like “My knees are killing me, but I got my 18-miler done,” or “My calves are destroyed but I finished” were received with encouragement like “Way to push through!” Initially I bought in too, as it seemed like a normal part of running.

If you can hear your feet, can you imagine what your body is feeling? If your running is loud, the sound comes from the foot landing out in front of you. This causes you to stay on the ground longer, as your body has to catch up to the support leg. The longer you stay on the ground, the more impact you are absorbing — thus causing your muscles to actively contract to push your leg off the ground versus pulling quickly, which uses muscle elasticity and reflexive action.

When I was working initially with Dr. Romanov, creator of the PoseMethod®, he would say, “Be nice to the ground, and it will be nice to you.” Once you shift your focus to falling and pulling up from the ground, you will be able to run using muscle elasticity, regardless of the surface type. Think of boxers jumping rope: their feet are moving quickly, and you can see how light they are on their feet (support).

The good news is that this is a skill that you can learn and integrate into your own movement.

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