Lesson 1

30 March 2020

OK, so the first lesson. Starts with the construction of the foot: 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and 38 tendons. The bones of the two feet make up about 25% of all bones in our body. The feet are the body’s shock absorbing system.

Our arches do double duty: they support the load of our body weight and collapse to help reduce the impact of landing.”They also have a built-in spring action that both decreases the impact of landing by compressing (coiling), and releases this potential energy into motion by expanding (springing)”.

I really like this reference: “Longtime USA Track & Field coach Rodney Wiltshire once explained why the heel strike is inefficient in very simple terms: ‘Biomechanically, when you heel strike you’re literally putting on the brakes. Great runners don’t put on the brakes with every stride’.”

The big toe and the first metatarsal bear more weight, the smaller toes function to increase our awareness (and perception) of our foot’s position.

Then it deconstructs the landings:

  • heel strike – landing on your heel first
  • midfoot strike – landing simultaneously and with equal weight on your heel and ball of your foot. It is also called flat-foot landing.
  • forefoot landing – landing on the balls of your feet

Then it breaks it down into frames:

  • beginning frame – as the foot gets ready to make contact with the ground it slightly supinates
  • middle frame – when contact with the ground is made, the foot rolls inward, pronating toward the big toes as the spring system coils
  • end frame – the spring uncoils and body weight unloads over the ball of the foot and the big toe

The takeaway: “Besides absorbing the shock of your body weight, landing on the ball of the foot unleashes the muscular-tendon elastic system, decreasing both impact and energy expenditure, while helping propel you into your next stride. The heel strike, by contrast, takes this beautifully evolved system out of the equation and the ankle, knee and hip have to handle the impact of running.”

Did my movement preparation routine – a sequence of stretches – first. Took about 10 minutes and it hurt. My muscles are so tight!

Then came the body weight perception drills. The first one was about shifting the weight of my body from the pringiness position. The goal was to increase perception of where I felt my body weight in my feet.

The second drill was about running gently in place feeling the spring action in my feet and registering each landing and paying attention at how I perceive my body in space – alignment, running posture, etc.

The workout was about shifting from my normal everyday position into my springiness position at least 5 times.

Then followed the strength routine – 8 reps for every exercise.