I have become a running addict and because I have bad knees I wanted to try to run as if I were barefoot but with sneakers. In the process I read everything I can on barefoot running. Here is a great article in the New York Times Magazine from Christopher McDougall the author of “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.”
The article is about a drill Mr. McDougall found in an old essay from the 1800’s. It is probably the simplest drill I have ever seen for running. Here is the description from the article:
I snapped a twig and dropped the halves on the ground about eight inches apart to form targets for my landings. The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the “Minor,” you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. “Now raise one knee to the height of the hip,” George writes, “bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg.”
That’s all there is to it. But it’s not so easy to hit your marks 100 times in a row while maintaining balance and proper knee height. Once you can, it’s on to the Major: “The body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heels being clear of the ground and the head and body being tilted very slightly forward. . . . Now, spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip. . . . Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running.”
I will definitely be trying this drill in addition to my normal running routine.