Okay, now that I have your attention with that grammatically incorrect title, how about you stay for a bit and read the information TOO!
Though I have improved since college (where speed walking from class to class is mandatory), I am still constantly being told to slow down, walk with the family. My wife can sense my frustration when caught behind the “slow walker” in the store, somehow pushing their cart on one side of the isle and getting close enough to read the ingredients of products on the other side.
Walking fast as possible just to get from point A to point B doesn’t do your body any good. Fast walking will cause you to over stride, and land with a hard heel strike. This is bad, shooting impact through your ankle, knee, hip, and back. Add the fact that you are likely wearing a pair of shoes designed to look really nice, but absolutely horrible for the function of your foot, makes it worse. Oh, and don’t forget the suitcase, child, or bag of groceries you may be carrying, creating misalignment through your body.
Slowing down and taking a more leisurely pace while walking, will allow you to maintain a better stride, better posture, reduce the impact of a hard heel landing and decrease your chance of falling or rolling your ankle. It will also help your stress level. Think about it, walking fast is basically signally your body to be at a state of urgency. Slow it down, smell the roses, enjoy the views and feel your body calm down!
Before I offend everyone who considers themselves a runner, let me start by saying, if you enjoy going for a nice long run, or you run competitively, by all means continue to go for a nice long distance run, with a sustainable/ challenging pace.
If you “go for a run” because you think you should, or that is the only physical activity you can think of and you just trudge through it because you are trying to get in shape, then I have great news for you. Stop, there is a better way!
Going for a long distance/ time run, means you will conserve energy to complete it. The bodies natural way to conserve energy when running is to shorten your stride. You take a lot of small steps to reach your distance goal, never fully extending your hips. Your knees take all of the load, and your glutes and hamstrings are not activated. If, your goal with running, is purely fitness based, stop wasting your time with long distance runs that are making you miserable, not burning the energy (calories) you could be, and likely causing you injury.
The answer… sprint. I would encourage you to head to a local field and pick a distance that you can just sprint your heart out, as fast as possible. Sprint that distance, turn around and walk back for recovery. Then repeat that pattern. You can set a number of sprints 5-10, or you can just set a timer, and see how many you can in 10, 15, 20 minutes. Eventually increase the distance you are sprinting by 5-10 yards, or shorten the amount of recovery you take between sprints.
Sprinting as fast as possible will mean your stride is long, and your hips are going through good range of motion. The added range of motion will recruit more muscle, and eventually give you better joint mobility. Oh yeah, and because of all that, you will be burning through BOATLOADS of energy while you do it. Reap even more benefits and take your shoes off, feel the grass on your feet, let the muscles of your ankle and foot learn how to do what they were designed for before your started wearing those fancy foot prisons.
Keeping the duration short, (20 minutes max), means you can really give it everything on each sprint. Maximizing your effort will also give you the advantage of EPOC (Excessive Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) and burn even more calories for some time afterwards.
Can I sell this to you any harder? You don’t have to waste an hour of your time, use more muscle more energy, get better range of motion, and healthier feet. Not to mention you look like a total bad ass sprinting barefoot through a field to all the miserable people who are 100 yards into their 5+ mile pavement pound.
But Mike… I use running as a good excuse to get away from my family and have some me time, are you saying I only get to have 20 minutes to myself now? NO! Please feel free to tell your family you are going for your normal run, then drive to the field, do your sprints, and spend the next 40 minutes reading my other blogs, or getting lost on Instagram. I recommend you start on this page, this guy really knows his stuff!