Running  is a cheap and easy to access form of exercise. Most of us can do it  but not all of us do  it very well. People run to get fit, to lose weight, to get somewhere quickly or escape and  people run competitively. Now running is very natural as we start running when we are toddlers without being taught. However, it appears that although most of us learn how to run most fail to learn how to run efficiently. There could be several reasons for this with the most probable ones connected to our modern lifestyles. We are fairly sedentary which can weaken the key muscles required for running and we can almost forget how to run if we do not do it for years. Researchers also believe that modern shoes impair  our running . Wearing modern padded trainers causes excessive heel strike & can lead to repetitive stress running injuries.

I read a good quote recently that said trying to run with shoes is like trying to learn a language while deaf. You don’t get any feedback about your mistakes. If you run without shoes, your body will immediately be required to start using proper form to avoid hurting your feet! It doesn’t require any conscious training, it just happens naturally. So a tip for improving your running technique  – try barefoot running.  Some of you may already know that the sport shoe manufacturers have developed minimalist, thin soled shoes to simulate running barefoot (Vibram Five fingers & Nike Free) These shoes allow for a more natural walking & running action. They allow the feet and legs to feel more of the impact and forces while  running thus allowing for adjustments in running stye to be made. Try doing a warm up on grass barefoot next time you go running and see how you find it?  You can even do some of  your home workouts barefoot. Do not go straight into lots of barefoot work as you are more than likely not used to it.

I was teaching running in an athletics lesson  with 9 year olds this week. The class teacher was amazed at the progress they made with their running technique in the one lesson. I just highlighted a few of the basic principles of efficient technique and many of them were able to adjust & adapt their running straight away. How long will they keep this up for? Will they still be able to run by the time they are 40? A couple of them already had the effects of modern living hampering their running ability.


These 9 year olds had their school sports day this week and as every year the question of competitive or a non-competitive sports day came up in conversation. As an ex-athlete I am slightly biased as I liked to compete and also to win so i agree that there should be some competition. As we said the other week when we were talking about challenges.

 that we should accept and embrace competition (challenges) as they are an opportunity for us to learn about ourselves and grow. To build up our strength and resilience. To ensure that we have learnt the skills necessary  and are as efficient as we possibly can be.To develop our confidence and self esteem when we are successful.

At the school sports day children are sometimes   forced into the competition arena when they are not ready which can have a lasting negative effect.  If managed well with a balance of competitive events and some less competitive team games the students get the best of both worlds. I asked my daughter this morning what she was thinking about when she ran and won her race as she looked so determined. She said ‘ I was thinking about doing my best and if I did then that would be good enough. It wouldn’t matter if I won or lost.’ I believed in myself that I could do  my best.’ Wow I thought – despite having very competitive parents she has got the right mindset here. This is the growth mindset  – the mindset that believes in growth and change,commitment and effort. The mindset that believes in setting  high standards and learning  from their mistakes. A growth mindset helps people to see prejudice for what it is – “someone else’s view of them” – and to confront it with their confidence and abilities intact. 

Lessons from running this week


  1. We can not be complacent – even our natural movements are being effected by our modern lifestyles. We need to practice our most innate abilities to stop us from forgetting how to do them.
  2. Just like running barefoot we need to take on board feedback that we are offered rather than ignore it if we want to progress and get through the marathon of life without too many setbacks.
  3. Just like the 9 year olds,  when we receive advice from specialists we improve at a much faster rate. Time is precious, we can’t get it back so do not waste it. Ask for help from the best if you want to be the best.
  4. Race – embrace competition and challenges, use them to develop your character and confidence.
  5. Apply the growth mindset to your goals and see yourself become the best that you can be. Successful and happy.



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