Born to Run?

Ever since the release of Chris McDougall's book 'Born To Run' debate has raged over whether humans are born runners and whether we should be running barefoot or in minimalist footwear.

Significant evidence does seem to suggest that running was not only part of our distant history, but it may also have shaped our evolution and development.

Fossil records have supported the development of humans as relatively proficient endurance runners in comparison to other species creating the hypothesis that we used endurance running as a method of catching our food (Bramble and Lieberman, 2004).

Added to this we have the anatomical traits such as the nuchal ligament (positioned perfectly at the back of the neck to stabilise the head whilst running) and an incredibly long Achilles tendon (for the return of elastic energy).

Without these elements we would not be very good runners at all and indicate that running had a prominent place in our distant past.

So with this in mind, why do we find it so hard?

Wander down to your local athletic club for the juniors session and you'll see that we didn't always find it so hard.
Better still, watch a game of tag on the streets and you will get an even better idea.
Children love to run, they don't think about it, they just do it.

They don't care what shoes they are wearing (and will happily run around barefoot), they don't move their arms in a specific way, they just use them to maintain balance. They don't heel strike, or land in front of their body.
They land in the way that is most comfortable and will provide the most speed.

So, why do we find it so hard? We've lost it. We WERE born to run but we beat that out of ourselves with regimented training, supportive shoes, desk jobs with endless hours sitting.

BUT, all is not lost. It can be found again, you just need to find out how YOUR body wants to do it.