The Old Person 5K

Have you heard of the whole free running movement? Where people are running mountain trails barefoot, traipsing the wild nimble and free? If not, then perhaps you’ve seen those strange shoes that have toes on them, for people who like the idea of being barefoot but are uneasy about contracting diseases from puncture wounds.

I’m reading a book called Born to Run┬áright now, and free running is what it’s all about. My friend Jennifer recommended it to me and it’s blowing my mind. All my previous assumptions about feet and running are wrong, and I had no idea.

Like many people born after 1970, I thought running shoes were a necessity for healthy running. And that running injuries were simply to be expected.

Then I read about how the whole idea of running shoes was created by some dude who wanted to make money and was clever enough to convince people they needed what he was selling. And some runners are able to run 100+ miles at a time, injury free.

There’s so much more to this book than that, so if you’re interested in running (or biomechanics, really) check out this book for yourself.

As for me, it’s really gotten me thinking about my future as a runner. Now that my stress fracture is healed, I’m trying to decide whether I will go back to running or stick to safer past-times like the elliptical machine.

I mean, I love running. The motion of it, the endorphin rush, the way time flies by. I love everything about it. But I can’t afford to get injured several times a year by my hobby. I already have a hobby that costs us money. It’s called writing. (Oooh, ZINGER!)

But then I read a section in Born to Run that really spoke to me. A running coach was talking about how running, even though it’s a very natural movement, still requires coaching to learn how to do it without injuring yourself.

Some people seem able to just go for it without injury. I envy them. Seeing as how I broke a bone six months into the sport, however, I have the feeling I’m doing it wrong.

So, maybe someday I’ll sign up for lessons with a running coach and figure out how to run without crippling myself. Back before I broke my bone, I’d started thinking about how cool it would be to run a 5K (I’d gotten up to running 2.5 miles at a time, I figured a 5K was pretty realistic).

Maybe that dream isn’t dead. Just delayed for awhile. It’s okay, I’m a patient person. I can wait. And when I run a 5K in my seventies, I’m gonna count on all of you to cheer for me, alright?

4 thoughts on “The Old Person 5K

  1. Best to read the counter-arguments as well. Also, check out pose running, which is basically the same idea but trains how to run “naturally” while managing to keep injury free, with or without fancy shoes.

    I just ran a 5k on Wednesday and one of my co-workers ran it in his new 5-Fingers. He had only purchased them recently and only done a few runs and so did not want to “race” the 5k. He took it slow and even still he was hurting at the end. He may have jumped in too fast.

    I would definitely like to try this method and these shoes, but I am concerned about the fact that most of my running trails are paved. I prefer grass, dirt, and forest, but you take what you can get…

  2. -dc, You ran a 5k on Wednesday? Good for you! Though since you’ve survived a marathon before, I have to imagine a 5k is pretty much just a sneeze for you. I’m not sure I’d go full-bore into the whole 5 Fingers running shoes. I think what I’m mostly interested in is learning proper running technique in very basic running shoes. I want the best of all worlds :)

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