Dr. DeVany’s title quote has haunted me for years; I typically ponder the significance of this deadpan assertion during my morning jog. “Come on, this can’t be dangerous, can it?” I assert that my morning jog helps me enjoy nature, clear my mind for the impending busy day in front of a screen or microphone, and seemingly contributes to both my fitness base and my health. But only if I go slow! That is the revelation I have come to appreciate over decades of devoted endurance training. Walking is perhaps most health and longevity promoting activity of them all, the ultimate human experience of life and planet that our genes require daily for healthy functioning. This is especially true as you age. A UCLA study of the elderly revealed that walking more than 4,000 steps a day makes for a thicker hippocampus, faster information processing, and improved executive function. Sedentary folks were found to have thinner brains, lower overall cognitive function and increased disease risk. From a base of frequent daily walking (and other forms of low level movement like yoga), if you are fit enough to jog at a heart rate below “180 minus age” in beats per minute, there is pretty strong evidence that you are boosting health. If your “jogging” routinely drifts above that important MAF cutoff (surely the context for DeVany’s warning), you are likely actualizing the quote and endangering your health. This article details how I destroyed my health during a six-month binge of high volume aerobic exercise (playing Speedgolf, where you run around five miles while playing 18 holes as fast as possible) after a long layoff from real training. I overestimated my aerobic maximum heart rate by 12 beats (and exceeded that beeper limit on the golf course frequently as well!) and experienced that familiar steady spiral into declining energy and burnout. First, I delivered a free testosterone reading that was clinically low—as in, a candidate for hormone replacement. Next, on the heels of a two strenuous workouts in 100-degree temperatures over four days, I found myself in the hospital with extreme dehydration, a ruptured appendix and emergency surgery. Months of complications and follow up surgeries ensued. Doctors might assert that an appendix will blow out randomly, but I’m certain that my problems were driven by the six-month chronic cardio binge. In Case You Missed It: Don’t Jog, It’s Too Dangerous (Part 1) With five months of enforced rest and trading my slightly too difficult cardio for easy jogging and walking (after surgeries), I doubled my testosterone levels—going from clinically low to exceeding the 95th percentile for my age. In the aftermath of the ordeal, which coincided with me hitting the big Hawaii 5-0, I turned my attention to fitness goals better suited for longevity: building power, speed, explosiveness, flexibility, balance, and mobility. I increased my devotion to sprinting and strength training, and integrated the wonderful drills and skills highlighted in the basic running drills and advanced running drills videos and morning … Continue reading “Don’t Jog, It’s Too Dangerous: Part 2”
The idea that technique is essential for the simple act of running is finally starting to catch on. By maintaining a balanced center of gravity and maintaining a strong foot, you generate maximum propulsive force and minimize impact trauma with each stride. This allows you to transform from a rookie sloppy jogger to someone who looks and feels like an athlete. In this article, we dive into why we pay attention to running technique, with videos on how to improve running form with a few simple drills.
Runners and joggers of all ability levels jumped into the conversion around a post I wrote about proper running technique. I noticed quite a few comments and questions on the video along these lines:
Is trying to run like a deer — springing along with active feet — necessary and appropriate for a jogger?
Are these technique tips just the domain of sprinters?
Will I get “tired” trying to maintain the correct form as described for an entire marathon? Or should I just shuffle along to save energy?
Here is the deal. Executing proper technique is critical at all speeds and durations, for a two main reasons. First, you minimize impact trauma and obtain the best return on investment for whatever energy you muster to make forward progress. This applies whether you are running a marathon in two hours (like the superhuman Eulid Kipchoge), or four hours, or jog/walk for six hours.
Running is the most simple and straightforward of fitness activities, so we generally don’t pay much attention to learning and refining proper running form. Consequently, there’s a widespread problem of joggers and runners with extremely inefficient technique that can lead to slower times and increased risk for injury.
Unfortunately, when you plod along at a jogging pace, the penalty for inefficient running form and lack of explosiveness is minimal. In contrast, when you sprint, you try to generate maximum explosive force with each footstrike, so even the slightest technique inefficiency or wasted motion delivers a severe performance penalty. Sprinting, Primal Blueprint Law #5, is a great way to clean up technique errors and drift in the direction of proper running form.
Read More: See The Definitive Guide to Sprinting, Part 1, and The Definitive Guide to Sprinting, Part 2 for everything you need to know about sprinting.
Here, we’ll break down the components of proper running form. If you struggle with some of the technical explanations, watch the technique instruction video to help you grasp the concepts.