Evolutionary biology professor Daniel Lieberman, whose studies are the scientific backbone for Chris McDougall’s Born to Run, gives five pointers on how he thinks you can run long distances better and injury-free.
One. Don’t overstride.
Overstriding is when you stick your leg out in front of you and you land with your foot in front of your knee and really way in front of your hip. A lot of people think they’re running hard when they do that. You know why? Because they are running hard.
So don’t land with your foot in front of your knee — it makes you decelerate and lose energy and sends a shockwave of impact up your body.
Two: Do land with a flat foot.
Land — gently — on the ball of your foot or with a midfoot strike, not on your heel.
Three: Do run vertically.
Don’t lean forward at the hips. Be vertical from the hips up.
A lot of runners lean forward at the hips. That’s another total evil.
Four: Don’t thump.
If you’re making a lot of noise, you’re running poorly. The thump is the sound of the collision of your body hitting the ground. Running should be light and gentle and collision free.
Five: Do ease into it.
Listen to pain. Don’t overdo it. Transition slowly and gradually. If you transition to run properly too fast, you’re guaranteed to injure yourself — you need to adapt your body.
Complement Born to Run with Don’t overdo running, underdo it. It reminds us that running can be fun, and a way not to get somewhere but to find yourself.