While running does not define who I am, it is a big part of my life. I took to this activity at the tender young age of 11, and have not abandoned the joy I discovered in it since then. Now, at age 47, it is rare for me to miss a day of running. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I began to feel a sense of gratitude for the fact that, despite all of my years of consistent running and frequently logging several miles per week, I have never sustained an injury from this endeavor in my entire life.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Danny Abshire, author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running." Just a few minutes into the conversation with him, I revealed my love of the sport and how I have been able to enjoy it, injury-free, for 36 years. He was actually quite amazed, as the majority of runners usually present with some types of injuries in their running careers. I had simply chalked it up to the fact that I conditioned my body at an early age, and I just believed I had basically built up an immunity of sorts to injury. Hearing about bad knees, sore hips, and foot problems from my running friends, I simply felt that I was either: one, in the minority, having been a runner for nearly my whole life, or two, just lucky. Abshire explained to me what the real reason behind my injury-free running experience has been.
According to Abshire, running is one of the most natural things humans do. We were born to run. Running has been an aspect of life since the early days of man. In prehistoric days, people most likely ran as they were meant to run, efficiently, purely, and without inhibition. They probably ran with an upright form, a compact arm swing, a high cadence, striking the ground at mid-foot right below their center of mass as opposed to on their heels, as many runners of today hit the ground. That is how the human body is supposed to move. Abshire refers to this style of running as natural running. A running enthusiast, I was glad to learn in our dialogue that this did not mean running barefooted. Been there. Done that. Don’t care for it.