The term "natural running" became popular thanks to the book "Born to Run" by Christopher MacDougall. In this book, the mysterious Indian tribe "Raramuri" is described as tireless and enjoying running without injury. Cultivating their tradition of long-distance running around the Copper Canyon in Mexico, they delighted the world not only with runners. Long famous for running in sandals or barefoot, they have become a role model for some, and a reason for others to take a look at their running technique.
What is running like this all about?
Natural running is a method of running when in the first phase of contact with the ground, the foot lands on the ball of the foot. This is the primal method that most likely man used to run for many thousands of years before footwear was even invented.
The structure of the foot and the entire lower limb proves that we are made for running with this method. The arch of the foot, plantar fascia, Achilles tendon or calf, as if they were specially planned by evolution. Energy put into the step returns energy to the runner. The leg acts like a spring. Thanks to this, we can run for a very long time, saving energy. We put in strength, we get strength, simple!
Who is this running for?
Basically, for every healthy person, as long as there are no health contraindications, to play sports. Movement is simple and can be practiced recreationally or competing in running competitions.
Of course, what is simple is not necessarily so immediately. Practice and a calm approach to the subject make perfect, let's remember!
Years of walking in inappropriate shoes or running in highly cushioned shoes had an impact on unnatural movement and the acquisition of inappropriate motor habits. The sedentary lifestyle did not help either. You have to give yourself some time and enthusiasm, because we will not run a marathon immediately with this method. Even if we have already completed the royal distance. With proper training, we can restore the ability to move naturally. If we have been running regularly so far, but with the heel, it may take several weeks for us to switch to this technique.
For those who start running, it is a little easier because they learn to run right away.
How to start?
For starters, we warm up with our shoes on. The lighter and softer the better. After approx. 10-20 min. We jog or walk, we do: dynamic stretching of the whole body (stretching), and we activate the feet by walking on the toes, the edges of the outer feet or heels. If the conditions are safe and we know the terrain, we can try to take off our shoes. Then we will feel best what is going on in it.
We start by jogging in place. After a few or a dozen or so steps, making sure that we are landing on the midfoot and the last heel reaches the ground, lean forward with the whole body and start running.
How is it working?
In natural running, we run lightly and with a shorter pace. Thanks to this, our run is economical. We cushion the landing of the foot with the entire movement apparatus, minimizing the risk of injury. The foot of the attacking leg (the one taking a step forward) sits lightly and does not come out in front of the knee of that leg. It falls below or even slightly behind our center of gravity. The heel is in contact with the ground at the last moment of the foot step, and at this point, the foot immediately goes into the forward pushing phase, with the front of the foot.
What to run in?
Preferably barefoot, but of course due to the too high risk of injury or stepping on something sharp, it is best to run in shoes dedicated to natural running. "Minimalist" shoes, because we are talking about them, are characterized by zero or little difference in the sole, on the heel-toe line, the so-called "Drop" and more room for fingers. Such shoes allow the best implementation of the assumptions of the natural technique.
But it is not everything!
Natural running is not only about the appropriate running technique, body movement, but also the philosophy of being in contact with nature. With nature as the natural world. Where the natural runner feels like a part of it and most willingly chooses it to run. After all, it is best to feel part of nature in nature. The topography and the ground require good technique and attention from the runner. We run in a trance and focused to the maximum, because we cannot think or lose sight. Wild paths hide a mystery and a sense of going in the direction of adventure. The harshness and demanding conditions of the wild trail run become a different challenge each time. After all, the same path, at a different time of the day or year, will be a completely different path, and since a different path, it is also a different adventure, like a journey into the unknown. You have to be ready for surprises. Anything can happen. There is work for the head, you have to take a different step every now and then, something you have to jump over and it happens. We are in a trance of rhythm and attention. We are here and now.