“Land lighter, run taller”…

 

…is a funny mantra to tell an oversized Bambi like me.

In my quest to live a more connected life, I’ve been wanting to be barefoot as much as possible. Being a lifelong Asics guy, I’ve always gone for speed and longest stride possible. It turns out that I am a ‘heel-thumper’, and if I want to fully embrace barefoot running, then breaking that habit is the key.

When I mentioned to a friend that I really needed barefoot running classes, I was sent to Rebecca Lewis, founder of Barefoot Mallorca. She insisted I come to to her new off-grid pad, perched high up in the Tramuntana mountain range. The trail to my destination reminded me of journeying into The Himalayas: Off the beaten track, bumpy and remote. I was getting my money’s worth from my car rental as it’s engine battled up the hill in first gear all the way.

 

The ‘long-lunge’, to increase range of motion, and then the ‘hunter-gatherer’, a pose we should all be doing as much as possible. Its all about ankle flexibility.

We analysed my natural running gait and stride in trainers, on a solar-powered treadmill (seriously cool). When we watched the video back, it was immediately clear how firmly I absorb my full bodyweight into my heels: This is how I’ve been getting shin splints. With no thick soles to take the shock, this anatomically incorrect running stance has gone unnoticed for years. Talk about an AHA moment!

We practiced a few drills that change the running posture to being more upright, and ensuring that the balls of my feet take the weight of the body. The key is to allow the heels to touch down almost invisibly, without weight. Its quite counterintuitive when I’ve always run with longest strides possible.

Of the life experiences I treasure the most, many have been surprise encounters, unplanned, or via introduction. A lot of them have involved me seeking things that are hidden from view in the mountains, much like where my ‘journey’ began back in India. A session with Rebecca fits this bill, as there really is nothing quite like running into the forest.

Having sacrificed running to get deeper into my yoga practice, I can’t wait to get back out there again with proper technique and body alignment, care of Rebecca and my Vivo’s

There will be more visits to Barefoot Mallorca, I highly recommend a visit for anyone who is on the island and interested to know more. There will also be more posts: Next up I’ll be studying ‘MovNat’ with Rebecca.

 

FOR THE SAKE OF TRANSPARENCY: My session with Rebecca was paid for, and she did not ask me to write this post.

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