My Surprising Secret To Becoming A Better Runner

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I have a secret to share that has made running a whole lot easier for me and I’m sure it will do the same for you too. Let’s face it, for most of us running can be a really hard slog. We know that it’s a great way to stay fit and healthy but it’s just not easy. What I’ve recently realised is that it doesn’t have to be that way. And here’s why.

When I was a kid I almost never wore shoes. Anyone who grew up Down Under knows being barefoot and fancy-free is part and parcel of being a kid. As it turns out, this carefree way of life was actually doing us more good than we realised. Research has shown that walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments in our feet, increases the strength of our arches and contributes to good posture. The only problem is when we grow up we stop going barefoot.

Then as adults we expect our bodies to do a whole lot a crazy things – like running – and we wonder why it’s so darn hard. Last week I had a lightbulb moment about my running while trialing a flash new pair of Nike running shoes. I joined  a group of runners from the Auckland Nike Run Club to take the new Nike Free 3.0 Flyknits through their paces. If I’m honest, when I first clapped eyes on these shoes I thought they looked a little . . . well . . strange. I loved the fact that they were neon orange with the all-important swoosh on the side but they were a cross between a shoe and a sock which seemed a little odd to me.

It turns out these shoes were more than 10 years in the making and are designed to mimic the feel of barefoot training. They have no seams, no added bulk and they’re as light as a feather. They’re designed to let the power of our feet do all the work. The only problem is most of us are rather lacking in that department because we spend our days wearing shoes (and often ill-fitting ones at that). So part of last week’s run included a pit stop to take part in a series of natural motion training drills. You see most of us simply don’t have enough strength in our feet to run properly. It’s where we’re going wrong.

It may sound over-simplistic but trust me it’s not. To be a better runner we simply need to get back to basics and let our feet do the work. Kids run free naturally and getting closer to the ground and more in tune with our own bodies and our physical abilities is the secret.

The best way to do this is in a pair of running shoes that support and protect our feet but allow them to flex and move in a natural way. I’ve got to say it felt good running free. Okay it felt a little strange at first but I quickly got used

So besides working on strengthening my feet and wearing my new Nike Frees, the other secret to my running success is my son who also joined me on last week’s run. While I couldn’t actually keep up with him watching him run at the head of the pack made me realise how much easier everything – including running – is when you’re a kid. Kids don’t overthink things and they don’t tend to question whether or not they can or can’t do something. They just do it.

And the more we just do it – the better.


If you want to run free or try running in these fab new Nike Frees then register now fornike dinkus the next Auckland Nike+ Run Club. Look forward to seeing you there.