TThe weirdest thing Coach Joe Vigil had ever seen in any race was a smile. Coach Vigil was 65 at the time and had been coaching Olympic athletes and college elites for over forty years when he noticed that grin, suddenly causing him to rethink everything he thought he knew about running. He was watching runners from Mexico’s remote Copper Canyons competing in a 100-mile ultramarathon in Leadville, Colorado, and couldn’t believe how hard he had run. fun they lived.
“What a sense of joy,” Coach Vigil marveled as members of the Tarahumara tribe charged in the Rocky Mountains and dominated American rivalries. But all of a sudden everything made sense. Perhaps our greatest sin against our bodies was accepting the idea that running is miserable. He knew that humans were actually the greatest distance runners in the world; Because of our ability to expel heat by sweating rather than breathing, and our kangaroo-like amount of stretchy elastic tissue, humans can run faster on a hot day than any other creature on the planet.
But if we’re so good at it, why might some of us hate it? Most likely because we strayed from some important ancestral truth that the Tarahumara never forgot. Fortunately, finding your way back isn’t too difficult. The first step is to learn the “Free Seven”, seven easy tips based on Tarahumara techniques that unlock the natural powerhouses you already have and can make running feel like playtime again.
one) 5 Minute Rock Lobster Reboot
Running is really just a series of jumps. All you do is jump from one foot to the other. Isn’t it easy? how except far do you need to jump? And where exactly do you need to land – on your heels, on your toes, or on your middle foot (almost He dir)?
These two key components – footwork and stride length – can make things difficult for runners. But not for boxers who seem to have turned the jump into a fine art. If you’ve ever seen the way fighters jump rope, they can jump all day with almost no effort.
What is their secret? Two things: rhythm and recoil. Boxers bounce at a steady rhythm, allowing them to take advantage of the free momentum, just like a human pogo stick. They keep their backs straight and land lightly on their front feet, allowing their knuckles to contract slightly and project upward again.
You can learn the same rhythm and kick back in just a few minutes. All you have to do is shoot the “Rock Lobster” from the B52s on your phone, take off your shoes and run in place with your back close (but not touching) the wall. The “Rock Lobster” is 92 beats per minute, exactly the cadence you want for an easy, bouncing stride. Once you get used to it, all you have to do is keep the same rhythm and footwork in mind as you hit the roads.
2) Your Fork Is Not Your Coach
One way or another, most of us start running because of our relationship with food. How many times have you said, “I just run so I can eat what I want”? Or pushed back from the table and said, “Ugh. I better put in some miles tomorrow’? But your body is both a hoarder and a fast learner. It still obeys the old instinct to store fat in case of food shortages and will eventually adapt to any exercise you do to shed those pounds of sweat.
Read More: Why Did I Stop Running?
“You can’t escape a bad diet,” says endurance expert Coach Eric Orton, who made tarahumara-style running a science (and turned me from an exhausted ex-athlete to an ultramarathoner). Orton is a big fan of the Two-Week Test, a simple eating habit reboot that can take the guesswork out of your daily meals. For two weeks, you avoid eating all foods with sugar or processed carbohydrates. So no bagels, no pasta, no rice, no oatmeal, not even fruit. At the end of these 14 days, try gradually reintroducing some of these foods into your meals. You will immediately notice which foods make you feel bloated and sluggish and in what quantities. Once you learn to cut down on insulin boosters, you can now enjoy your runs without worrying about burning empty calories.
3) Your Run Is Not Yours
Hopi and Navajo runners have a long tradition of treating every run as a prayer. Before they hit the road, they will dedicate the run to someone going through a bad time, believing that power and energy flow towards those who strive for a purpose beyond themselves. Legendary music producer and hit producer Rick Rubin came to exercise only late and soon discovered that he could make his workouts more rewarding by turning them into an opportunity for guided meditation. According to the rhythm of his movements, he will mentally say:
May my family be filled with love and kindness;
may my family be well;
May my family rest in peace and comfort;
May my family be happy.
“Adding something bigger gives the exercise a higher purpose,” says Rubin. “And it feels completely natural.” Also, taking a few moments to focus on a struggling friend serves as an inspiring reminder that no matter what discomfort you may be experiencing, the ability to explore the world on your own feet is a luxury that not everyone can enjoy.
4) Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Your shoes aren’t the two most important pieces of running gear. Those wiggly things in them. “You’ve always been told to work your abs but never your feet, which is probably even more important,” says trainer Eric Orton. “This crucial muscle work is key to health and performance because we can eliminate a lot of athletic dysfunction just by working the feet.” He explains how it affects how we stay balanced on the ground, how we activate other muscles.
You can wake those immobile foot muscles in those spare minutes you would otherwise waste waiting for your coffee to come to life. Just take off your shoes and balance on the front of one foot, letting the other leg swing wherever it needs to go to keep you balanced. At first, you can use the wall for support. But as you recover, see how long you can balance on each foot without assistance. When you can hit one minute per foot, you’ll be giving these arches and supporting muscles a terrific workout.
5) First Drive, Then Fly.
Coach Eric once told me, “The Tarahumaras are not great runners.” “They are great athletes. From head to toe, their entire body is in sync with their stride.” But you can’t loosen your chain of motion, for example by holding your foot and pulling it up from your butt, or any of the other static stretches. You need a dynamic movement that not only activates your entire body, but also allows your left and right sides to move in harmony. This is why high-flying Parkour athletes start each session by crawling the bear. There is no margin for error in their acrobatic moves, so to make sure they are completely warm and ready, they usually start the session in a wide circle, then walk on their hands and feet like grizzly bears until they meet in the center.
Then they’ll high-five and walk back to their starting point. Of course, you can always crawl on your own, and when you stand up, your whole body will be relaxed and ready to run.
6) Don’t Fear Your Best Gear
The first time I ran with Coach Eric, he surprised me with a strange command. “Okay,” he said as he jogged through Denver City Park. “Let’s see you run.” Sprint? A quick mental math reminded me that the last time I was late for high school basketball practice, I ran at a heart-rending speed. Since then, all my runs have been adjusted to the semi-comfortable pace that could get me to the finish line that day. Sprinting seemed unnecessary at best and a sure-fire recipe for a torn hamstring at worst. But I followed Coach Eric’s orders and ran as fast as I could for 30 seconds, then relaxed and ran for a few minutes before running again. I soon discovered that the faster you run, the better your form. It’s actually harder to run recklessly when going on a full slope. Second, nothing can open your lungs and electrify your nervous system like reminding your body how fast it can go.
7) We Are Born To Run Together
As coach Joe Vigil watched the Tarahumara race in Colorado, he pointed out something else: they stuck together as a group. They weren’t barking on their own, staring at their watches and plugging their ears with Air Pods. Tarahumara remembered that people always run best when we run together. For most of our history, never Escaping into the wild on our own. If we did, it’s doubtful we’d ever go back. Instead, we formed prey packs that allowed us all—young and old, male and female, fast and not so much—to unite and support one another. Sure, our hectic lives these days require most of us to get as much exercise alone as we can, but consider following in the footsteps of Guillermo Torres or Santa Claus, who spends one day a week running with the rescue dogs at his local shelter. Every Thursday – rain or shine – Mujeres Run Crew to support Latino women new to the sport. Because think about it: Isn’t every run you do with a friend better than the one you do without?
Based on McDougall’s new book, Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide, co-written with Eric Orton. Posted by Knopf
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