As most of you will know, I have had a couple of leg injuries this year. One of them for sure was due to overtraining. But the most recent was pretty much down to my running form/gait. So when I heard of a free barefoot/POSE running workshop in Sydney I signed up (actually I was one of the first ten to register, probably spending too much time online!). It was held in Centennial Park, and was a nice sunny day at about 26 degrees.
Being a bit unsure of what was to commence I showed up in my week-old Asics. I quickly realised that everyone else (76 runners apparently) either was in VFFs or was barefoot...doh! I took the runners & socks off and hid them for the next couple of hours :-)
We started at 10:00 on the dot (bit of a novelty that) and Max (one of six Instructors) introduced himself and the rest of the staff. One of the Instructors had apparently broken the Australian 3,000m record the day before! We quickly got started into a chat about why we should consider barefoot running and Max had a great way of holding the crowd's attention. You could tell that everyone really wanted to be there. The whole event was captured on camera, which I presume will be up on their website soon (BarefootInc). We got stuck into drills and exercises pretty quick.
One of the first things was to jump up and down on the spot. Landing on the midfoot, but letting your heels touch the ground shortly after. This helps the "springiness" of the legs to be come apparent. After that it was jogging on the spot, landing the same as the jumps. We then ran about 30m slowly to try and get the foot fall the same as when we were jumping - not easy! After that we did forwards then backwards running. We got buddied up with another runner of about the same height - not easy for someone as tall as me - and did some drills like jumping from one foot to the other while leaning forward and with your buddy's hands on your shoulders. Then leaning forward while your buddy holds your hips and lets go so you start to run. Interesting stuff!
Towards the end, we did a run around the oval in pairs. So one runner in front with second runner behind with one hand on the other buddy's shoulder. This teaches you to be aware of not bringing your foot too far back.
Our final drill was all about acceleration. We noticed that once you lean a little, you speed up. Obviously you can't keep leaning or you will face plant! So the way to accelerate from there is to increase your cadence, doing short strides in high repetition.
We then got free bananas, apples, oranges, almonds and the first 50 registered (including yours truly) got an excellent goodie bag, woohoo!
I'm sooo tempted to go and buy some VFFs now...
P.S. I just got an email from the organizers to say that will be trying to run this monthly! Check out their website for info (link above).