So I finally read the very popular book “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall. I have never been a “jump on the band wagon” kind of girl so I was a skeptic….good book. For me, it stimulated an even bigger question I have been wondering for years. We are training athletes harder than ever before and at an even younger age. We also see the amount of athletic injuries (not just in runners) continue to go through the roof…why is that? The greatest country in the world with the greatest technology can’t keep any athlete (recreational or competitive) out of the doctor’s office.
Than I began to watch athletes “warm-up”…wait a minute…what are they doing? As I observed, most of them couldn’t run! They could dunk a basketball or serve a mean volleyball but they couldn’t perform the most “basic” form of sport…RUN. This posed 2 new questions: 1. Does lack of good running form contribute to not just running but all athletic injuries? 2. If so, could getting “back to basics” not only help resolve injuries but ultimately enhance all sports performance?
I have yet to see significant research on these 2 questions but I can tell you from my own professional experience running is a sport you have to “practice” to get good at (like any other sport) AND when “practiced” well it not only decreases pain & injury but improves athletic performance in many sports.
Remember, although reasons why people display poor running mechanics may be debated and many fold (ie. diet, culture, shoes, genetics), the good news is the body can learn, adapt, and change! Running is a SPORT…maybe the purest of sport. If you can truly run and all other sports require running….well, you do the math. Could we be onto something…could we decrease injury and optimize sport all at the same time?…maybe, just maybe.
So, were we born to run?…maybe. Were we born with the POTENTIAL to run? …YES. And if nothing else, isn’t it true art to see a sport done and done well.
Here is to running and running gracefully…