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16th March 2020
Townsville Podiatrist Chris – ‘Why I like to Run’
Meet Chris Weber, Biomechanical Podiatrist, running coach & avid runner here at Foundation Podiatry
Firstly, I never used to like running. Running used to be the necessary incidental activity that I had to work on to help me with the sports that I played – but I never really enjoyed it. Running was hard work; running is hard work. Every run felt like a battle of demons inside my head where my self-talk included statements like: “I’m not very good at running, I’m not a real runner, I wonder how far I’ll get today before I have to stop, I hope today’s run feels good, I’m not going to stop and walk, Maybe I’ll just walk a little bit, I’m only going to walk this once, or twice"……
It’s no wonder many of my runs were unpleasant. My self-belief and how I viewed myself as a runner all played a significant role in how I performed. And I performed poorly – I rarely enjoyed my runs and I always felt like I couldn’t breathe, my legs always felt heavy and I was slow…….so so slow. And, on top of that, I would get so sore after every run – sore thighs, hips and sore calves. Of course, when you feel so bad about your running, it’s difficult to remain consistent and to keep it up on a regular basis.
So, what changed for me?
I acknowledged that running is hard! It’s hard on your body and it takes time for your body and mind to adapt to the demands of the activity. I acknowledged that walking is “okay” and often necessary to help to build the capacity in your body to deal with the demands of running. I spent some time working on some very simple changes to my running technique. I specifically focused on increasing my cadence (number of steps per minute), taking smaller steps as I ran and attempting to run with quiet feet. These three things are connected to each other and all play a role in decreasing the amount of physical stress being placed on my body. I also slowed down my pace and added some structured run : walk ratio to my runs (e.g. run for 4 minutes and walk for 1 minute and repeating several cycles of this), I was running too fast (even for a slow runner) and therefore running out of steam which meant that nearly every run felt hard.
Because running is such a repetitive and high impact activity, even the smallest changes (for better or worse) can make a massive difference to how you feel when you run. By changing some small things, I gradually started to feel much better on my runs, I started enjoying them, I felt much lighter on my feet and legs, my breathing became a little easier and I was no longer having the post-run soreness that use to stay with me for days.
There were a few other things that I did too. I started to appreciate just how much of a privilege it is to be able to run, to be able to walk out the door, breathe in some fresh air, take some time for me and know that I was doing something that improved my physical and mental health. I started running in places with a nice view, I changed the location of most runs trying to run in a different place for each run during the week, which really helps with reducing some of the boredom that can come with running.
Changing how you run and changing how you think about running takes lots and lots of practice and patience. Running reminds me that I am capable of things I never thought were possible; that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone brings both massive reward and heart ache, both of which make you stronger.
I now have the privilege of sharing my love of running as a coach and as a Podiatrist at Foundation Podiatry Townsville. Helping other people to start running and learn how to enjoy running is what inspires me to keep working at my own running goals.
If you are looking to improve your running technique, performance, or even begin running – Take the time to come and see Chris at Foundation Podiatry and learn how making the smallest changes can improve your foot health, running performance and running enjoyment.