Facebook Pixel

Natural Running: Learn to Run the Way You Were Meant to Run!

Rate This

While running does not define who I am, it is a big part of my life. I took to this activity at the tender young age of 11, and have not abandoned the joy I discovered in it since then. Now, at age 47, it is rare for me to miss a day of running. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I began to feel a sense of gratitude for the fact that, despite all of my years of consistent running and frequently logging several miles per week, I have never sustained an injury from this endeavor in my entire life.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Danny Abshire, author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running." Just a few minutes into the conversation with him, I revealed my love of the sport and how I have been able to enjoy it, injury-free, for 36 years. He was actually quite amazed, as the majority of runners usually present with some types of injuries in their running careers. I had simply chalked it up to the fact that I conditioned my body at an early age, and I just believed I had basically built up an immunity of sorts to injury. Hearing about bad knees, sore hips, and foot problems from my running friends, I simply felt that I was either: one, in the minority, having been a runner for nearly my whole life, or two, just lucky. Abshire explained to me what the real reason behind my injury-free running experience has been.

According to Abshire, running is one of the most natural things humans do. We were born to run. Running has been an aspect of life since the early days of man. In prehistoric days, people most likely ran as they were meant to run, efficiently, purely, and without inhibition. They probably ran with an upright form, a compact arm swing, a high cadence, striking the ground at mid-foot right below their center of mass as opposed to on their heels, as many runners of today hit the ground. That is how the human body is supposed to move. Abshire refers to this style of running as natural running. A running enthusiast, I was glad to learn in our dialogue that this did not mean running barefooted. Been there. Done that. Don’t care for it. Besides, as Abshire pointed out to me, even prehistoric man designed some sort of foot coverings to protect his feet from the harsh and uneven surfaces of earth.

People have been running for millions of years, and Abshire noted that in that time, the human anatomy has not changed drastically. So why have our running styles changed? No, we haven’t necessarily forgotten how to run naturally, we have just been under the influence of the modern world – harder running surfaces and current running shoe designs.

“While barefoot running shows us the form in which we were meant to run, modern running shoes puts a high heel on us and thereby alters the balance of gravity and the way we run,” explained Abshire. He went on to say that the only injuries runners of today should sustain should be the result of an accident or doing too much, too fast, and not just from running or overuse.

“People tend to believe that pain is part of the running equation,” he said. “That’s just not true. With natural running, you can learn to revamp your running style and remain free from injury.”

In short, to run naturally, you should imagine what it would be like to run on hot coals…touch lightly and lift quickly. This is more efficient and is far less fatiguing than running with the heel strike to the ground first. Without learning how to run properly, you not only set yourself up to potentially experience chronic injury, but you are also running less efficiently. Most runners of today tend to run with a heel strike, causing a braking of the forward momentum, leading to excessive rotation of the feet, ankles, knees, legs, and hips. Further, many runners use far too much muscular force to create forward propulsion. That is just too exhausting.

To learn more about natural running, be sure to get a copy of Abshire's new book, “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running,” which you can order online at www.newtonrunning.com. The website has some great illustrative examples on how to run naturally. I intend to discuss this topic further, as the book contains so much valuable information. If you want to run with child-like abandon for the rest of your life, this book promises to be a real page-turner!

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.