December 6, 2022

How to improve your running form | chris mcdougall and eric orton

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With improved running form, you can run faster and safer. In their book, Born to Run 2, Chris McDougall and Eric Orton tell you how. We sat down for an interview, and Chris and Eric dropped a ton of value bombs. Whether you are new to running, or a seasoned runner, this episode has something for you.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:42.410] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:01:43.910] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:46.240] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I'm doing alright.

[00:01:48.574] – Rachel


[00:01:49.240] – Allan

We finally got some rain. We finally got some rain. So, yeah, it's rained a good bit over the course of the last several days, which is important because we were out and we were buying water to put in our tanks because we had to turn off the city because the city was just pumping mud into our tanks. So we haven't turned on the city water. We bought one big tank. We've got basically 400 gallon tanks in the back, and so that's our water, 1600 gallons. And that if we're full up, that lasts a few days. We haven't been full this time of the year, so that's another blessing sort of, that we don't have to worry about running completely out of water and scrambling to get something done. We got pretty low, but we didn't run out. And then we filled one tank. And I told my wife, we just paid $80 to fill up this tank with water, 400 gallons. And I said, it's going to rain tonight. And it did.

[00:02:43.260] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Wow.

[00:02:47.360] – Allan

We have some water catchment. We don't have enough that could keep us going without the city water. So I'm hopeful that we're thinking about potentially investing a little bit to change the way that we do water catchment, because the roof is plenty big enough so we could catch a lot of water if we wanted to. We just don't want to send that to the back of the house because it will flood back there. We send most of that to the front of the house, which is downhill and towards the water, towards the ocean. So right now we've got a lot of that water going to the front. We could probably have a way to switch and put some of that to the back so we can make sure those tanks stay full.

[00:03:22.020] – Rachel

Nice. Good. Sounds like a good plan.

[00:03:24.270] – Allan

Yeah. We'll have to see what that entails, the slanting and then having a way to turn it off is what's really important because once we get full, we don't need more water back there. We would need it to shift to the front. So it'd be a watch it and see and then switch it. I guess we'll figure that out.

[00:03:43.390] – Rachel

That sounds good.

[00:03:44.620] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:46.140] – Rachel


[00:03:46.540] – Rachel

Well, you got rain and we got snow. Yeah, we got a record setting snows up here and we got about 2ft or so around our house. And today was one of my first snowy runs of the season. So it's good so far. Stayed up right.

[00:04:03.860] – Allan

So you set yourself up right by going to Pensacola and then the draftic fly home into that.

[00:04:10.710] – Rachel

Yeah, that did work out very well. I'm glad we made it home and we didn't get stuck in a snowstorm somewhere out east or something.

[00:04:18.270] – Allan

or stuck in Pensacola. That'd be true.

[00:04:20.010] – Rachel

I would rather be stuck in Pensacola. Maybe some year I can be a snowbird. We'll see.

[00:04:27.480] – Allan

Yeah. Well, Bocas is still a nice place. All right. Are you ready to talk about running?

[00:04:35.920] – Rachel



Text – https://amzn.to/3fgE2cS

[00:05:24.790] – Allan

Chris, Eric, Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:27.990] – Eric

Hey, Allan.

Note: I told Chris and Eric that I think of a particular (but made up person) when I'm preparing for the podcast. I've named this imaginary person Ellen. They took it from there. So, in each case where they address Ellen, they're talking to you.

[00:05:29.070] – Chris

Hey, Ellen. I just want to greet our friend Ellen because I understand there's someone out there that we have got a lot of wisdom that drop on Ellen's head.

[00:05:38.530] – Allan

Okay. Yeah, great. I guess I'll share this with the audience because I don't usually do that much, but when I'm trying to come up with a topic or I'm looking for books that I want to talk about, I have this imaginary person, Ellen, and I think about what Ellen needs to hear as I'm reading a book. And so it kind of keeps me in the mind of saying, this book isn't necessarily written for me, although I'll tell you guys later, it absolutely was. But it's a book that I think is going to help a lot of people.

[00:06:10.770] – Allan

So the name of the book is called Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide. And the reality of it is, I'm a corrective exercise specialist. I've been working on myself from perspective of being more functional for at least the last 15 years. And, you know, going through that training and then reading your book, I'm like, you just holistically are naturally just stumbled upon my profession from an overall training perspective, and you're applying it to running, which I think for a lot of people, they get the aches and pains when they get out there and run.

[00:06:45.360] – Allan

They're just told you, should just naturally be able to run. We all are born and we just run. And that's not entirely true, or we teach ourselves some bad things as we get into this and we don't ask the right questions. And that was one of the things you guys said in the book, you're asking the wrong questions. And so I want to ask the right questions today. But this is an excellent book. If you struggle to run before, if you love running and you want to keep running, or you're afraid you're going to have to hang up your running shoes at some point, this is a great book for you to run safely, run well and run forever.

[00:07:20.250] – Chris

Allan it's funny because that one word struggle right there is what it's all about. Yesterday, Eric and I were zooming with our friend Billy Barnett, the savage wild man who was on the cover of the original Born to Run, and his wife Alex. And as we're talking to Alex and Billy, they kept taking turns popping up to chase their little eight month old son, Cosmo, who was like the Road Runner, just darting around in the background. And as we're talking to them about fitness and training, I'm realizing, you know what? We should just watch Cosmo, because this kid is running around. No one told him, hey, you better get the right shoes, go to the running shoe store, get your data to analyze, Cosmo. You better warm up, you better stretch. He was just running around, and when it was uncomfortable, he sat and plopped his ass on the ground, and we felt like he popped back up again. That is accessible to everybody at every age. Remove the struggle and embrace the freedom and the joy. It's so easy.

[00:08:23.860] – Allan

Yeah, I had a girl I was dating in college and she had a little nephew, and it was the same thing. He would literally squat down, pick up the ball and throw it, and then he would just run as fast as he could to the ball with perfect form. His squat was perfect. His run was perfect, and he'd pick up the ball. I would sit there and see if you want to play squat ball. And it was like, what are you doing? You can't squat like that. You should be running like that. Ryan and I would play squat ball, and it was one of the funniest games because you really didn't care. You were just running around. And I know we'll talk a little bit about some of the running that you've seen, and particularly the ones with the kids playing with a ball. It just seems to be a common theme if you really pay attention to good form.

[00:09:05.020] – Chris

I think the one thing we have to acknowledge is that, yes, every little Ryan out there, three years old, is playing squat ball. But then Ryan at age six, is going to be brought to a school and plumped down in a seat at 08:00 in the morning and said, don't move till 4. So here you have this healthy, vibrant mammal who has been immobilized for 6 hours a day and then goes home and has homework. And so we take these functional creatures and then immobilize them until they're like 25. And then you go out of college and you're getting a little bit heavy, and you're like, oh, we get back in shape. And this activity you haven't done very much for 20 some years. Now suddenly you've got to jump back into it. And that's a hell of a lot of muscle memory if you can suddenly run around, do squat ball, if you haven't done it in 20 years. I think this is where my eyes were open, because I was the Ellen. I was a guy in my late 30s, early forty s, and tried to run, got injured. Big dude.

[00:10:05.440] – Chris

I was probably 240 lbs at that point. I would see doctors, and doctors would look at me and say, guys your size, you're better off moving slow. Don't run. The impact is bad for the body, especially your body. And so I believe this. And you see it in magazines all the time. If you don't have the right shoes, you'll get hurt. If you don't train right, you'll get hurt. That drumbeat of you'll get hurt is so attached to running. And then I meet Eric Gordon and he's kind of showing like, dude, none of that is true. None of it has to hurt. And that's where my eyes were finally opened up.

[00:10:40.600] – Eric

And I'll add, based on the title of this podcast, that that doesn't have anything to do with age either. We don't need to go down that battle of fighting our age and giving our age an excuse not to do it.

[00:10:53.460] – Sponsor

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[00:12:28.240] – Allan

When you had a concept in the book, you called it Easy Light Smooth and On Fast Days Fast. And as far as I was training for my first marathon, and of course I was buying all the running magazines back then. There wasn't the internet at that point. And so I'm buying all these magazines that I can get, subscribing to a lot of them. And I get them in and they're like, okay, here's the ten best shoes for the season. And then I'm like, okay, crap. I go reading all these things, I get more confused about the shoe that I should have because they're saying, well, if you pronate, if you supinate, if you do this, if you do that, if you're heavy, if you're a heel striker. And I'm like, Holy crap. So I end up going to a running store and the dude brings me out there and he says, okay, I want you to run down to that sign and then run back.

[00:13:12.580] – Allan

And he watches me, he says, okay. He says, you pronate a little bit, so you need some stability with cushion. And then he goes and he measures my foot and he sells me at the time of $70 shoe, which was the most I'd ever spent on a piece of clothing in my life, it didn't make me run any faster. Maybe it did actually protect my feet and my ankles and my knees a little bit. But in the end game, it didn't change me, it didn't change my running, but this easy light smooth and on Fast Days fast. It sounds simple, but how do we actually do that?

[00:13:46.150] – Chris

There's a lot to unpack there, Eric. There's data analysis, there's a shoe. There's the easy like smooth on fast you start off, dude.

[00:13:53.850] – Eric

Yeah, I'll piggyback off your story. When we met, one of Chris' hurdles was he was not able to run slow easily. And what that meant was that every time he went out for a run, it was uncomfortable for him to run easily, which would be maybe considered a nice, easy run that we do most of the time. Therefore, since it was uncomfortable for him, it was more comfortable for him to speed up a little bit, which caused him to fall into all the mistakes he was making with his run form that caused the breakdown in his body. So we had to work on both ends of the extreme. We had to teach him how to run easily well with form and good technique. But then on the other end, we had to also use some very fast running to build his structural system to eliminate the breakdown. So we worked on both ends of this extreme to help him create essentially more efficiency with his running, which is kind of a holy grail.

[00:15:03.900] – Chris

You know, the thing about Allan, too, is that when people address running problems, they're constantly giving you things to do that are not actually running. So if you had aches or pains or injuries, people to tell you, well, buy the other shoes or do yoga or ride a bike or go to the gym or strengthen your quads, no one ever actually looks at the behavior that is causing the problem. And to this day, it, to me, boggles my mind that the running media press always says the same thing. You run the way you run. No two people run the same. You run with your own natural former. Like, what an everloving craft is this? If you dive off a diving board, you belly flop. People go, hey, you know what? You dive the way you dive. If you go out with a basketball court with Steph Curry, he's not just chucking a ball in here, hey, Steph, you just shoot the way you shoot. No way, man. Your form is dialed in. The behavior dictates the outcome. And so, again, if Steph Curry's shot is off, no one goes, hey, you know what, Steph? Maybe you should go to your basketball how fitting store and get yourself fitted for a nice sleeve, because you're supinating on your follow through.

[00:16:13.750] – Chris

No, you work on the form. And this, to me, again, was a major revelation that Eric brought to me, and it corresponded to what I had seen in the Copper Canyon. Our superhero origin story between me and Eric is that I'd gone down to the Copper Canyon. I had spent time with the Taromata. I watched them run, but I didn't know what I was seeing. Eric knew about the Taromata, but he hadn't seen them. So when he and I first met and, like, you know, I've seen these guys, he was like, 75, and he's rocking up a mountain in a pair of sandals, and everybody's kind of running the same way. And so I was able to take my observations to Eric, and he was able to analyze and feed them back to me, saying the reason why they're running 75 is because they're all running the same way.

[00:16:58.240] – Allan

So let's talk a little bit about the free seven, because I think that'll help people kind of understand what this whole thing is all about.

[00:17:07.390] – Eric

I'll list it off, and then you go, Chris. So the free seven, we've got food, we've got form, we've got fitness, we've got focus, we've got footwear, we have fun, and we have family. That's the core of born to run, too.

[00:17:22.450] – Chris

Here's what comes down to Allan. The message of born to run is more than just a phrase. The idea is humans are born to run the way birds are born to fly, and fish are born to swim. Running was the first great superpower the human beings had as a species. Running. Our ability to run long distances is what allowed us to survive because we got nothing else. We got no claws, we got no fangs, we got no fire, we got nothing. We are naked lunches out there in the savannah. But we can run long distances better than any other creature in history. However, for you to take advantage of that ability, you have to have multiple sources of energy and fuel. You can't just have one gas tank. And so if we are truly born to run, that should be something that integrates all of our lives and should be fueled by all parts of our lives. So what we have found is if your footwear is dialed in, that's a source of free energy. When you have a nice, thick cushiony sole on your shoe, you have sacrifice energy, because when you land on that cushion, you sink, sink, sink, sink, sink.

[00:18:26.380] – Chris

And then you muscle your way back out again. If you land on your foot on the ground, you spring back off, you pop back off again. Imagine a box or jumping rope. Okay? It's a free source of energy. Another one we look at is food. Most people's relationship to running unfortunately follows their fork. Why did I start running? Well, I was putting on a few pounds. I want to get in shape. I want to be able to eat whatever I wanted. And so your fork becomes your coach. And so what we instruct people is, you know, what easily dial in your eating first, and then your running will be fueled by the food as opposed to your food being dictated by the run. So that's what the free seven is. It's looking at all these aspects of our lives that can easily be modified so they help our running as opposed to detract from it.

[00:19:14.820] – Allan

Yes, and I like that last one. That was fun, because I think a lot of people look at running and they think, particularly if they're coming after the fork, like you just said, then they're thinking, oh, crap, now I got to go do my half hour run so I can eat what I want tomorrow. And they're not looking at it as an opportunity as an opportunity to have friends with them as they're running, to be out in nature, to experience some pretty interesting things and kind of have some challenges in front of themselves because so many people kind of look at it as a drudgery. Oh, I got to go do my run. Or I got to go do my job. If they're running a little slower, but they just don't look at that aspect of what this can be in their lives.

[00:19:55.110] – Chris

Well, unfortunate thing about exercise is that we've all adopted this attitude that if it doesn't hurt, I'm not doing it right. If it's not painful, then I'm just kind of taking it easy. And unfortunately, that is a self destructive cycle because anything that is uncomfortable, at some point, you'll stop doing it. Your body's hardwired that way. So however, we also believe that, hey, if I'm having fun, well, I'm just slacking off. I'm not getting any out of it. But physiologically, fun is a self perpetuating activity. Anything you enjoy, your body will reward you with that flood of endorphins. It'll make you feel good. Your peripheral vision is widened when you're actually having plenty of oxygen flow, when you have those endocannabinoids in your body. And so actually what you really want to do is dial into that fun zone because that is actually going to maximize your workout.

[00:20:47.890] – Eric

And since Ellen's listening, most people who are just starting or wanting to start running do it for maybe weight loss or exercise. Hey, it's good for us, but very rarely will you hear someone say, I want to do it for fun. But that should be the first priority when just starting out is that keep it fun. And that's going to just let everything fall into place when you're first starting.

[00:21:10.690] – Chris

I mean, if we can translate running into the terms of play, of like dance, no one goes, hey, you know what? I'm going to go to the club and dance to get in shape. No, I'm going to go to the club to dance because it's a freaking party. And at the end of the night, you're soaked in sweat. You can barely walk. If you can look at running the same way, I'm not for run because it's fun. And then here's the story that I love because our friend Barefoot Ted, one of the miracles of nature that appeared in the original Born to Run. So Barefoot Ted ran the leisure trail 101 year in a pair of his tone homemade sandals and he rocked it. He came in under 24 hours, which is astonishingly fast, and I paced him over the past last 13 miles. And as we head to the finish line. I'm like, Dude, your training must have been monstrous. Like, how did you get in such shape? He goes, no, no, no. I'm just doing 25 miles a week. I'm like what? Dude, you're doing five a day with two days off, and you were smoking the Ledville Trail 100.

[00:22:13.270] – Chris

And he goes, oh. So I'm not interested in the limits of what's painful. I'm exploring the limits of what's pleasurable that makes these analysis. I'm rolling my eyes and the stick of the finger in my throat, but then I look back on, I'm like, the dude is kind of a half a genius, because exploring the limits of what's pleasurable, and you get that outcome.

[00:22:34.480] – Allan

And my co host on this, we have a segment afterwards, so she's going to love this episode for sure. But she's the runner. She loves this. She loves running. She makes sure everywhere she goes, if they don't have a run club, she starts one. She's always out and doing things, training, making herself better, even hiring coaches to help her run better. At least, training plans, maybe not. She's going to want this book. I'm absolutely certain of it. But there are people who could just identify as runners and then other people who dread it. And I think this book is an opportunity to really bring some people that may have dreaded a little bit, because when you add the functional aspects of what you guys are doing in this book to the running, it makes it less hard, it makes it less painful, it makes it fun. When you start realizing that you can increase your speed without killing yourself and doing things that are uncomfortable, you can literally get out there and say, okay, now that I'm running this way, I'm running faster, and now that I'm running faster, I'm having more fun. For some people, it is about podium.

[00:23:41.100] – Allan

Other people, it's just, okay, I'm in the back of the pack, but I want to run my fastest race. Now, in the book, you had three goals for how we can make our running more functional, and those were your footwear, your cadence, and a friend. Can you talk about each of those? Because I think those are magic. That's the magic there.

[00:24:02.590] – Eric

Hit footwear, Chris. I'll hit cadence.

[00:24:05.160] – Chris

Sure. Let me just say one thing, Allan so I don't want listeners to think that we're leading them down a path of further complications. Like, oh, there's all these things I need to change. One thing that has always bothered me about running is that it has been popularized as a way of maximizing profit. You mentioned going to that running shoe store and being told all these different criteria. Confusion is the engine of capitalism. The more you can confuse people, the more crap you can sell them. Because if you feel there's all this rhetoric and all this terminology, I don't know, and I have to trust the person who's selling me something. And that to me is really what that great beil Grand Wall of Footwear is all about. When you walk into a running shoe store, you're like, I don't know what to get. I got to trust this guy. And he's telling me I need $150 pair of shoes and I better rotate them so I gotta buy two and then I better change them after 300 miles because who wants to get hurt? I don't want to get hurt. So that confusion complication is what leaves people having to pay a bunch of money for a bunch of crap.

[00:25:12.370] – Chris

And what we feel is that you can modify things very easily and simply, and most of all, you can do it in a way where you can feel the difference right off the bat. And so our first starting point rather having people feel anxious about, well, what should my foot strike be? What should my footwear be? What should my cadence be? Maybe I should buy a watch. None of that. So we have this little exercise we'd like to start everybody off on first thing. So if you have your Ellen out there, 53 years old, she hasn't run in a long time. She's afraid of getting hurt. So here's Ellen, here's what we're going to do. You're going to pull up Rock Lobster on your phone. The song Rock Lobster by the B 52s. You're going to take your shoes off, you're going to stand about a foot or a step away from a wall, and then you're just going to run barefoot in place to the song Roth Lobster. And that song is about three minutes and 40 seconds long. At the end of three minutes and 40 seconds, I guarantee Ellen now understands in her bones what good running should feel like.

[00:26:12.370] – Chris

It's not complicated, she didn't have to buy crap. But here's what happens. Rock Lobster is 90 beats per minute, 108 beats per minute. That gives you the quick, easy cadence you want. If you're near the wall, you can't kick back and over your stride. Otherwise you'll hit the wall. And if you're running barefoot, you're not going to land on your heel, you're naturally going to land on your forefoot. And so that's what we tell people is you can get so much out of the simplest of actions which will educate you on how running can feel good.

[00:26:40.600] – Allan

Yeah, I think that's where I had a huge AHA moment is I realized, OK, when I run barefoot, like on the beach or something like that, I run around barefoot. I run different than I do when I have shoes on. And I'm like, why am I changing the way I run? Because I have shoes on. There's something fundamentally there's something fundamentally wrong with that. Once I was like, okay, crap. Even I've been doing it wrong for 53 years, assuming I started wearing shoes around three years old. But it's just kind of interesting how something so simple as just getting out of the shoes, or at least not having all the cushioning, not having all the stability and all the things. And again, like you said, you invested 300, $400 before you leave the Run store because you had to buy the socks, too. Let's talk about cadence, because you talked about that song, and I did actually listen to it. The version I found was like, over six minutes long. So I guess you can find different versions if you don't want if you want to do this a little longer or do it a little short, or you just put it on a loop and keep playing it.

[00:27:54.300] – Allan

It's actually a pretty catchy tune. But you gave me some key, you said, because I was going to ask the question, it's 180, because I was thinking it's well over 130. I wasn't absolutely certain. But let's talk about that cadence and gait and how that can improve our running.

[00:28:09.110] – Eric


[00:28:09.510] – Eric

So with Cadence, there's kind of two things that really affect performance and longevity in running, and that's cadence and leg stiffness. And they go hand in hand, and it's essentially how quickly and how often you strike the ground. And we want to reduce our ground contact or time or the amount of time we're spending on each leg. So all the skills in the book are designed to improve, leg stiffness and leg stiffness is a good thing. It's building a better rubber band with our tendons. It's building a better spring in our muscles to spring us forward. And that is really then goes back to affecting our cadence, or again, how quickly we can go from one leg to the next. And that's why cadence is such a big thing, which also then really helps dial in where we're striking the ground and how we're striking the ground with the foot and how we're using the foot. So there's so much wrapped up in cadence. It's not just a number, but it is essentially how well we use our body to run.

[00:29:21.300] – Allan

Yeah, and you did a really good job in the book of talking through that whole process of that. And what I liked was it was like every little phase of this, as you're going through it, you're adding energy to the system without actually using your energy to do it. Like you said, you're not sinking into foam. You're creating the spring, your legs and your tendons and legumes. If you're running the right way, they're creating more energy. And so effectively, you're running faster and longer using less energy.

[00:29:52.310] – Eric

Well, that goes back to what you first brought up with, that easy, light, smooth, fast. And what that is, is just efficiency. And that's what we're building and making running feel easier, better and more fun and safer.

[00:30:07.910] – Chris

I'm a little bit annoyed right now, Allan, because that phrase you use, adding energy to the system, I really wish I thought of that is actually perfect it's exactly what happens.

[00:30:19.350] – Allan

Yes. So the last bit of the three goals for this was find a friend. Can we talk a little bit about that?

[00:30:29.440] – Chris

Here's the thing about it. So much of what we do is based on squeezing something into an inconvenient part of our day or feeling competitive. And so much of running, and this is one of the two things that need to bother me most about running that really, I feel, have destroyed. Recreational running in the world is footwear and competition. If you open up a running magazine, they're always devoted to two things races and shoes. And there's the quarterly shoe review. The thing about racing is, racing is what you do in a distress state. Racing is what you do when you are at your absolute limits and you're in a state of discomfort. But everything about running is about racing. If you're out in Strava right now, every day you're racing some guy in Italy, you're racing somewhere around the world. And the difficulty with that is that it puts you in a state where running is now in the burn zone. But much of running, traditionally evolutionarily, were two things. Number one, you would never put yourself in distress state unless you had to, because in the wilderness, you don't know what's around the corner.

[00:31:35.790] – Chris

You don't want to be vo2, maxing out and then go around the corner and go, Crap, there's a sabertooth tire. I'm out of gears now. So you'd never put yourself in a distressed state unless you had to. Number two, you would never, ever go out alone. So for millions of years, we as humans evolved to run with two functions stay within our comfort zone and be with the companions. If you ran off in the wilderness by yourself 10,000 years ago, you did not come back. Arthur Litigator, when he began the jogging boom back in Australia, what he said was, with the Auckland Sunday runners, he said, always stay within your conversational limit. And that's a perfect ecosystem for running. If you can breathe and talk comfortably, then you're outside of your distressed zone. So he came up with the perfect mechanism that doesn't require any technology at all. If I can run side by side with Eric and he and I are chatting and talking, then I am below my anaerobic threshold and I'm in a comfortable state. But beyond that, too, since we're such social creatures, there is a psychological reward from that.

[00:32:43.420] – Chris

We are rewarded by a sense of companionship. I believe no one has ever finished a group run and thought, well, that was a bad idea. So I think psychologically and physiologically, we get a tremendous boost out of making our runs more social.

[00:32:57.490] – Allan

Yeah, I had Hillary Topper on the show. She did the book From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete, and she does triathlon, swimming, running, all of it. And she calls herself a back of the packer. It's kind of the thing. And so we were talking about marathons and things like that and it's true. The ones that are trying to win the race, they're running at their max energy output. They're running as hard as they can run and in a lot of pain. The back of the packers, they want to finish, but they are also having more fun. And so I think if you look at running as a competitive thing, well, that's great if that drives you and you enjoy it, but you're probably not running well if you're doing that, like you said, maxing out, which might not be the best thing for you physiologically. Whereas the folks that are in the back of the pack when they finish, they just ran the best race of their lives. It doesn't matter what their time was, they finished and they enjoyed it. They had a lot of great conversations. That's what happens in the back of the pack.

[00:33:55.270] – Allan

And so I think I think you're on to something right there is just if you're having a conversation with someone and you're enjoying that time, it even becomes less painful, less of a chore. It actually becomes a thing. You enjoy it because you're there with somebody. So it's a social thing. And I'm a big fan of taking instead of trying to pull things out of your life that you know aren't serving you is to try to put things in your life that will and they take away that. They suck up the time that you would have spent doing something else. So if you find yourself having two glasses of wine when you get off work, find a friend and start running. You'll spend half an hour, 45 minutes running with that friend. You'll have a great time, you'll relieve your stress, you'll forget all those problems and you didn't have those two glasses of wine.

[00:34:40.990] – Eric

I think too, I'm going to pick on Chris here for a minute. When we first met and started talking about the 50 miles race in the Copper Canyon that ended up being born to run story, he wanted to do that race, but there was something bigger at play here, is that he had a longer term vision for his running and himself. His ultimate long-term goal was to be able to run anywhere, anytime, for as long as he wanted. And 15 plus years later he's accomplished that and some. And I think if people have that long term vision for themselves, everything else falls into place. They can go do races and they can go have fun, but there's this longer term vision that's driving, driving what they're doing for themselves. And Chris towed the line and knew he was going to come in last and he inspired millions of people in doing that.

[00:35:37.800] – Allan

Well, it wasn't a fair race. We'll just say that. So let's pivot into food because you talk about something that I really actually did not expect to find in a running book, but you call it The Maffetone Method. And we talk about that way of eating because it's going to resonate with a lot of people that followed me for a while because it's very similar to the way I actually already eat. Can you talk about what that is to start with?

[00:36:08.460] – Chris

One thing is that one of our goals throughout this book was to make everything measurable by feel. We didn't want people to have to invest in any kind of systems or complicated things, even as far as, like, heart rates. I would say almost every coach out there recommends heart rate monitors for a very good reason. The only problem is I know for a fact that I personally won't wear it. And I can't see to watch too well and it's a pain in the ass, and it looks like a sports bra. I don't like the chest strap, so I know that I personally won't wear a heart rate monitor for very long. So we want to remove all of the things that maybe make technological sense, but don't make practical sense. And eating is one of the first steps, because I think where most people get themselves into trouble with running is using it as an antidote for their eating habits. And so we wanted to accomplish two things. Number one was we wanted to put the food first, get that out of the equation, because if you're no longer running to catch up with what you ate the day before, and something, you can relax and enjoy your run.

[00:37:17.320] – Chris

But secondly, we wanted to make it something that people could process by feel. I know people down there were like calorie counters or measuring how many lipidozoids of fat are in there, like bacon. We wanted it to be something a physiological feeling. Okay, I know I eat well because of how I feel today. So Phil Maffetone came up with a method, which I think is fantastic, because being the old hippie that he is, he doesn't want to have an argument with Joe Rogan about the keto diet. He doesn't want to engage in a battle of words. That's not his deal. What he wants people to do is figure, hey, test this out, and go by the field. If you feel better, then you're on the right path. So the Maffetone method begins with the two week test. And the two week test is very simple. You know, it's a factory reset. You get rid of all the high glycemic foods, all the starches and the sugars, spend two weeks without eating those. See how you feel at the end of those two weeks. Have a little half a bowl of rice, see how you feel.

[00:38:21.870] – Chris

And what happens is, once we clean the system out of all, like, the junk that's circulating around with our metabolism, then we can make a cause and effect between what we just ate and how we now feel.

[00:38:33.960] – Allan

Yeah, like I said, the two weeks was great because I think for a lot of people, they do end up finding out that, okay, when I get rid of all that crap, I end up being relatively low carb just as a natural way, because I'm eating a lot more fiber because it's vegetables. That's about it. Vegetables and meat. And then the other side of it is whole food. It's none of that stuff in the middle of the grocery store. It's all the stuff you see around the outside. And so we talked on the show all the time about nutrition, and it's amazing to me that everything kind of coalesces around just eat real food.

[00:39:08.800] – Chris

And the thing that there's one thing to note in your mind, it's another thing to note in your belly. And what we want to give people an opportunity to do is make it a positive reinforcement. So much of an eating is about punishment, about guilt. You shouldn't eat this. And if I eat it, oh, well, I cheated to cheat day. I'm cheating. I shouldn't. I shouldn't. Screw that. Let's flip it around. You want to feel good, right? If you eat this, you'll feel good. And so without even making the argument, just try it. And then that becomes its own self rewarding situation cycle. I know now something I realized with me about my capacity after the two week test. I remember so distinctly. I finished a two week test, and I timed it because I had to make a trip to California, and I wanted to make sure that I was done the test so that while I was in Los Angeles, I wasn't going to be hobbled by this two week thing of no cars. And the day I finished the test was the day on my flight. And then I stopped by my favorite convenience store in Pennsylvania, wawa.

[00:40:12.690] – Chris

I introduced Eric to wawa.

[00:40:14.670] – Eric


[00:40:15.460] – Chris

You will verify that it makes a goddamn good hoagie.

[00:40:18.210] – Eric

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:40:19.610] – Chris

So I bought myself a Wawa hoagie, the roast beef and cheese, extra peppers, and I go on the plane. I ate the first half of the hoagie. Delicious. Feel great. Ate the second half. I feel like I'm comatose. And I realized, oh, that's my limit. Like, I can eat half a roll. If I eat a whole roll, I just basically go into glycemic shock. And that's what the maffetone did to me. It dialed in where I know what my limit is, and I can eat the whole roll if I want to, but I know what the consequences are.

[00:40:49.160] – Allan

Yes. And I think anyone can say, I can eat anything for two weeks. I could try anything for two weeks. So I like the idea that this is a limited time test. You can fit it in because it's not something you have to think about. How's my September look? How does my January look? How does my fit? You don't have to be thinking about there's a birthday and then we got this trip, two weeks. You can fit it in there, you can do it. And then you just gauge how you feel, which I think is great and probably a reason why you're doing as well as you are with your running, because you have less inflammation, you're eating food that serves you, and you're not trying to do that carb up every night before you run because you don't have to. And that would be really hard if you're running every day, you're carving up every day. And nobody likes that.

[00:41:35.070] – Chris

Yeah, I mean, ultimately what we're trying to do is have our bodies rely on our stored resource of fat, of which we have plenty. And the problem is, if we're on a constant carb cycle, that's all we're doing is we are racing from one sugar high to the next and storing away a ton, as opposed to dipping into this natural power that's right there.

[00:41:57.700] – Allan

And you'd have to carry 3 or 4 lbs of goo with you if you want to do a 50 miles. Right, so let's do an outline because you have a 90 day run free program. Can you just kind of outline how that program works and what someone can expect if they're going to decide they're going to come in and jump into that? 

[00:42:19.000] – Eric

So first off, it's really meant as we kind of use that word reboot, and this is really meant for all types of runners, veteran runners, who have kind of hit a plateau or have maybe been injured, someone looking just to get started, someone to reboot that foundation. It's meant for everybody. I've worked with every type of athlete, from winners to beginners and everywhere in between. And what I've found is that really all runners need the same thing. So this is really kind of a reboot for the body, for the running body to take your running in whatever direction you want to take it after the 90 days. It's going to build a structural system. It's going to allow you that awareness of different types of efforts that Chris talked about before. So you're always kind of working at your own level of ability, but also understanding what is proper intensity and effort for you just like Chris mentioned about being aware of how foods make you feel, we're giving you eight gears or eight intensity zones so you can understand how you feel, and different types of runs so aimed at everybody for that reboot to really take your run into whatever level you want to take it.

[00:43:39.730] – Allan

All right, well, Chris, I'm going to ask you this question and then, Eric, I'll ask the question to you as well. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:43:53.810] – Chris

So I would say number one, Allan is sharing community fellowship. I think that we deprive ourselves so much of fellowship and companionship in our lives that if we look around and think about a 24 hours day, how much of that time was actually spent sharing joy and happiness with somebody else? Astonishingly little. That to me, number one, to better health is that sharing community joyfulness. Number two is motion. Just constant movement, motion. One of the people I met not too long ago was an 85 year old woman. She has set age group records for running. And I asked about her training. She goes, I just go out and shake my ass for an hour a day. That's it. Shake your ass. So take community, add motion and movement to it. So if you're meeting with someone, you're not sitting in a bar, you're going for a walk, you're going for a hike, going for a swim. And I think the final thing is when you're enjoying something, enjoy it. Remove guilt. So be with your friends, move your body. And if you're in the moment and you're enjoying it, suck it down. If I'm having an ice cream cone, enjoy the crap out of the ice cream cone. Don't associate guilt with it.

[00:45:12.210] – Allan

I like those. Thank you. Eric, I'll ask you the same question. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:45:24.790] – Eric

Okay, so here's coming from the coach, I think first and foremost is to what we mentioned earlier is to have a long term vision of what fitness and performance means to you. Not what everybody else thinks, but that long term vision. And again, Chris, for Chris, it was being able to run anytime, anywhere, for as long as he wanted. He accomplished that and he's living it today. It's something that will be throughout your day if you have that long term vision. Secondly, don't see running as exercise. First and foremost, see it as something that you want to do as a lifelong performance practice that will affect your entire day, create the fun in it, and everything else will fall into place in a way that we will kind of be rewarded beyond what we think we can get from running. And then third, I think don't believe the BS about aging is that there's always a way to improve. I have an athlete who's in her 50s and is still improving. And no matter who you are, when you start, how old you are, I believe there's always, always a way for you to improve and seek that out.

[00:46:40.460] – Allan

Okay, thank you. So if someone wanted to learn more about you two guys, learn more about the book, Born to Run 2. Where would you like for me to send them? 

[00:46:50.910] – Eric

So all my platforms are my handle is borntoruncoach, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter. And then we've got Born To Run World on YouTube, Instagram. And Chris?

[00:47:05.580] – Chris

Yes. I think Born to Run World is a great launching spot. Eric, and I are now doing a bunch of interviews with people who appeared in both the Born to Runs and we're putting these videos up on YouTube. But I think the way to access most things is to go right through Born to Run world and you'll find all kinds of treasure chests, treasure chest stuff.

[00:47:25.120] – Allan

Awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/567, and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Eric, Chris, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:47:36.060] – Eric

Thanks, Allan.

[00:47:37.090] – Chris

Wishing great future running to Ellen out there. And thank you so much, Allan, for chatting with us.

[00:47:42.570] – Allan

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:47:50.440] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:47:52.050] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Now, you know I can talk about running all day long, so you'll have to just keep me under control here. But, yeah, I think that gait and cadence and having good running form is one of the most overlooked things. It's not something that runners generally focus on. There's so many other elements to focus on, but we absolutely should spend more time on form.

[00:48:14.140] – Allan

Yeah, it was interesting because as I got the book and I started reading through it, I was thinking, this makes more sense than shoes. Because the whole thing, if you have, like, a problem with your ankles and you don't have good doors to flexion, it makes it very hard to do a squat. Right. Your whole chain, kinetic chain doesn't work right when you're trying to do squats. And that's why a lot of people will stop short on squats. That's why they talk about where your knees are and how they're aligned and why people are leaning forward. If you find when you do a squat that you tend to lean forward and you can think about this, if you're sitting in your chair and try to just stand up, how far forward do you have to lean to make that happen? And that lean forward means that your calves and maybe your hips are really tight at that point. And so one of the main ones is the calves. And I find this a lot of people that I train in person, some online that will have them do this because I'll just have questions about it.

[00:49:16.360] – Allan

But if you have a foot forward lean, it might be that your calves are too tight. And if your calves are too tight, then you're not dorsiflex in your foot, which is basically bringing your toes up towards your shin. And so we say, go stretch and do this. So you know that if you don't have good form, you can hurt yourself on the squat or not do it. Well, in all the reading I've ever done about running, it's always about pace, it's always about keep your heart rate at a certain level and don't go over, over, embrace the suck. If you're going to run for time, if you're going to try to do an embrace, if you're going to try to do a PR or something like that, you're probably going to be pushing yourself into an area of some pain and struggle. And the people that can do that, the people that can stay there the longest, are the ones that win these races. Or when your race, if you're trying to run a faster time, you'll find yourself sprinting at the end and that kind of thing. So few people have actually sat down and talked about how to run better.

[00:50:23.060] – Allan

And the other reason is, like I said, if you do the squat wrong and you're leaning too far forward, you're putting stress on your lower back and the potential that could be a point of failure. And I've seen people run wrong and I know the reason they're doing it is they're compensating for something else. So if nothing else, just watching yourself get someone to film you running from the side, from the back to the front and look for those kind of points where you feel like, okay, this is not the best form I could be running in, and try to see if you can figure out how you can improve that.

[00:50:57.690] – Rachel

That would be a great place to start. If you're not currently injured or dealing with some sort of a problem aches or pains, then going to a running store and getting a gait analysis would be a great place to start. And if there's a runner out there who's currently in PT for one injury or another, you can have your PT do that for you. Or if you have an in at a PT center, you could have a PT do a gait analysis for you as well. It would be very helpful to do and you see people in the gym, the ladies wear too many high heels or wear the high heels for too long, or we spend a lot of time at our desks and our abs aren't working, our glutes aren't firing. I mean, there's a ton of muscle problems that we see in the running community. And just paying a little attention to how your body feels out there, plus keeping a look at the gait, the cadence and how you land on your foot and all of those things, I mean, those are cues and if you can tidy that up, you'd be better off for it.

[00:51:59.910] – Allan

And one of the areas where I think you have the best opportunity to kind of see this in action, it's one of the things that I do when I'm working with a client online is I'll have them give me a video of them doing a movement. But I ask them to do it on their third set, not their first. So when there's a little bit of fatigue is when form is most likely going to break down. So if you had someone like, let's say you're going to do a 5K and you're coming in towards the end of the 5K and you have someone standing there and they're filming you running toward them and then they're filming you as you go past them and then they're filming you as you run away. You've got some data there to talk about how you're running for them is when you're fatigued because the form is going to break down. That's when you're going to see it most.

[00:52:44.670] – Rachel

Yeah, that would be great if you've got a spouse or a friend that you could bring to a race or a training run with you. That would be great to have some extra video at different points along the run because it's true you're feeling fresh when you get started and as the miles to come by, you do get tired and fatigued. And that's when we slouch. Our shoulders go forward, our back kind of caves in a little, it gets ugly. So it would be good to have some extra video.

[00:53:15.970] – Allan

Yeah. Again, this is if running is something you want to do and keep doing, staying mobile and doing those things, then you're going to want to make sure you're doing the right things to take care of yourself. So I'm not saying I'm not poopooing the good shoes. I'm just saying don't use them as a crutch to maintain bad form. They said I was an over pronator. I would have been better suited to be focused on why I'm pronating my feet as I run and working on my footballs. Because that's what was really going on, was I was overreaching with my stride. And that was my problem for why I was over pronating because I was reaching I was reaching out with my feet versus just running. And that's one of the things when I talked about that exercise of running in place with a wall to your back, you can't do that. You can't stride out when you're doing that. You can't kick back when you're doing that. And so it was one of those things that really kind of hit home to me. It's like, okay, I have to land on my forefoot when I'm running this way I can't roll my feet. I can't land on my heel and roll my feet under the kickback. I have to basically keep my structure. And if it did, it made it a much more efficient run.

[00:54:38.890] – Rachel

Right. That is a good exercise. Just like they had described, standing up against a little couple of inches away from the wall, listening to Rock Lobster, not one of my favorite songs, but okay, it's got a good cadence, but that is a good exercise to try as another way to dial in your gait and form a little bit more. But I do want to mention on the shoes, too, it is so important we get so distracted by the latest and greatest shoes that are out there. But it is important to get fitted at your shoe store to test out the shoes and training and to see. How they feel and like you, Allan, not too long ago, a few years ago, I had an injury with my ankles and I was put in a stability shoe for a short term, just until I can get my ankle rehabbed. But once I was rehabbed, I'm back in my neutral shoes. I'm in a shoe that fits my feet. And so don't get hung up on shoes. They might change depending on your gait and injuries or aches or terrain, of course, and anything else. You don't have to stay in a stability shoe if you don't need it now.

[00:55:50.890] – Allan

And that's why I say I don't have to use stability shoes. I did when I ran marathons because that's what the running store told me I needed. I need a wide toe box. And there was really only one brand of sneaker that would fit me that gave stability, and that happened to be a New Balance shoe. And then that shoe went away.

[00:56:14.960] – Rachel

That was actually my stability shoe, was a New Balance as well. And those are powerful shoes. They are built to last.

[00:56:23.470] – Allan

Was good shoe, but then, like I said, they discontinued the model and I went with the whole thing, okay, if you put 500 miles on a shoe, it's time to change it. And I pretty much would live up to that. But then they didn't have that shoe anymore and I'm like, am I going to have so now I'm buying the magazines and the shoe episode, which I think was always came out in February, and start looking at all these shoes and say, okay, which one is going to work? And then you're looking around shoe stores to see if you can find that particular shoe. Remember, this was pre-Internet. So you couldn't go on the internet and look at reviews and talk about toe boxes and stuff. You just had to buy a magazine and shop around to see if you could find that particular shoe.

[00:57:09.340] – Rachel

Yeah, fun times. Now they're all around us and they're very distracting. There's so many different things that these shoes can do for you, but they're not always what they are meant to be, I guess.

[00:57:20.970] – Allan

And they can't run for you. You still got to know. You still got to pick them up and put them down so

[00:57:26.340] – Rachel

they'll need the muscles to do that. Yes.

[00:57:29.290] – Allan

Alright, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:57:32.250] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:57:33.660] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:57:35.680] – Rachel



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