Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Running Free

Having run barefoot for around a year, I have decided to start keeping an online record of my progress, since I have made such a huge amount of progress in my running in only a year. One of the main interesting things that has happened is that I have increased body awareness and a more complete understanding about what it means to be really healthy. My original goal was to simulate some of the things that our ancestors did, to put my body through the same kinds of demands that it has evolved to do, so that I would be living more in tune with our design, not fighting it or somehow trying to "overcome" nature.
With this in mind, I am constantly finding new ways of being a natural athlete. Something I have just read about is free running, or Parkour, which is something else I shall try to incorporate into my running. I am often tempted to leap up onto things as I run, to hurdle benches and up onto small walls, since otherwise, a kind of monotony can set in. Instead of doing boring press-ups and sit-ups, why not climb over walls and practice rolls to build further body strength? Which is more fun? Which is more natural?

Free running is not about leaping across building tops, but more a way of flowing around obstacles. Why not try to navigate an assault course Tai-Chi style? There are plenty of obstacles to find, there is no need to actually go to an obstacle course, just as there is no need to go to a gym if you wish to get fit. The location is immaterial too: urban, country. Imagination is the limit.

So, I am going to incorporate this third dimension into my running, to transform it from two dimensions by practicing some basic skills such as climbing walls and doing forward rolls to learn how to safely break a fall and to actively seek obstacles as I explore my environment. I look forward to improving my strength, balance and spatial awareness.

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