Running is as much art as science,
Likened to dancing.
A dancer harnesses the rhythm of the song,
With the movement of their body -
Legs, torso, arms,
Feet, and hands, -
Coordinating amongst each other
To create an elegant glide -
They can position their torso in such a way that their leg motions seem effortless.
Unwinding as ribbon in the air in response to the steps of their feet.
And at the same time,
In agreement with the body,
The arms are also coil,
Anticipating the force to generate for the next body bend, the next leg movement.
Counter balance for power.
The mechanics to be studied for days on end.
Fluid beauty to be adorned with the heart.
That is dancing.
That is running.
The best way to run is the way that is best for you.
Just as in golf,
Professionals have their unique flavor, nuances to their swings that make their form
They all share common mechanical principles,
Yet have their own nuances that
Create an arch, twist, rotation, bend
That is special to them.
Their form is influenced by,
Physical structure and shape,
As well as the differences in body configuration -
Literal structure -
That will make an arc like no other.
In some instances, pulling some technique,
Of a motion from one golfer to another
Could be advantageous,
And help refine the golfer’s swing, power, effort.
In other instances, imitation of another golfer’s swing could
hinder, limit, or regress in performance and motion quality.
So too in running shall we be aware of the possible helpfulness and hindrances of gleaning from another’s form.
In refining form,
Whether new to the game or an experienced runner,
It is good to have a posture of play and lightness in tweaking form and mechanics.
Fun creativity over technical mastery.
When looking to refine form, chose one variable at a time.
It will allow for attention on how the whole system responds to the change for feedback and further refination.
When making a change, or ‘tweak’
The tweak works well when subtle and small.
Often, our small tweaks end up being far bigger when we realize,
like swinging open a door when we really want to crack it just enough to peak through.
Tension, range, freedom of movement, flow, breath, rigidity, exertion are some of the indicators;
A dashboard if you will.
Tweaks should be generative,
Granting generative tension for more power
Granting generative range for more power
Granting generative lowering of exertion level - increased efficiency.
Grant tension for less power
Grant more range for wasted motion
Increase exertion counteracting efficiency,
They are de-generative in that moment.
A tweak can become generative over time with the practice and crafting of your form.
Or as fitness levels increase
Or if another tweak elsewhere takes hold and opens the door for this tweak to be generative.
The play and practice of trying again and again help determine how and at what levels tweaks are generative for you.
Running form is far more of a distilled spirit than social media.
The time, intention invested for the spirit to be molded, worked on, crafted
Is far more of an investment than and immediate buzz the click of a web browser or social media post provides.
Flow can be found in the balance of
The science, the study, the -ology of it all -
With the soul, beauty, participation of it all.
The mechanics, numbers, training logs, gait analysis,
Are filled with the breath and spirit of the whole process.
The interdependency of the physiology and the mystical participation
Is where running comes alive.
The body goes so much further
When connected to the spirit.
By Dr Adam Fujita PT, DPT, CAFS
At the end of the day, I can not appropriate a definitive response regarding the longing for ultra endurance races, distances, and training seasons.
So much pain, sacrifice, time commitment. Joy, transcendence, peace, calm, tears, work, play, freedoms.
The questioning of everything - Like everything.
To love and hate the same exact thing - both in the same exact day.
Sometimes in the same exact moment.
And I willingly agree and desire this all.
I ask for the hurt.
I long for the miles.
At one point, I could say that it was almost all for the ego support. And it would be a lie to say it doesn’t still fill some of the ego. But in a far different way. A far freer way.
As one who struggles with confidence, I do need (I think we all need) some tangible wins to help fill the sails.
The self-doubt, ‘who am I,’ ‘I am not good enough until a certain level of proficiency’-type thoughts keep me disengaged from the world; from participating.
The training (as spiritual practice), forces me into the world. Out of my head. Yes, there is a mental component working through the run: mechanics, nutrition, hydration, breathing, etc. But a consistent training schedule also allows me to work towards getting out of the mind realm and enter actual existence.
The cosmic energy in the air charging throughout my lungs.
The contour of trees enveloping me as I run the trail.
The Trail lilting amongst my brothers, the trees.
The canopy protecting me as a parent.
The ground reaching for my soul from below.
The sun trying to allure me through the leaves.
The further I go in, the further away I am carried.
All bending towards unitivity.
And I can find myself in the flow of it all.
Yet not always.
Sometimes, not often.
And when sometimes,
It can last for seconds.
And the rare chance -
It carries for miles and miles.
All of it -
The miles of connection,
The seconds of the zone,
The chance of flow
Has me going back for more.
And I did not find such freedom until reaching for ultra-distances. Not until I found the regimental-ness of the training. Yes, the structure and discipline granted the freedom.
I could be.
I could turn my brain off and exist.
It became my meditation.
My active prayer.
My call to Participate.
I need encouragement to participate in the real world, as I tend to live amongst the thoughts and rumination in my mind.
And as one that always questions and doubts the value in anything they do,
I need the positive affirmation of accomplishment.
There is something also about doing something that not many can do.
Or want to do.
Or see value in.
And being out in the woods or on the river, isolated, for hours.
You can’t do anything but be in that moment.
There’s something about your body needing to take hours to get you back to ‘daily life’ that forces your brain to stay in the moment.
There is such transformational energy in these distances; each season.
Yet I can not fully explain it.
Nor do I possess much if any of it at all.
I have tasted it, though.
It can not be packaged and sold.
It can not be profited from.
It can not be pimped by a company.
It can not be faked,
It’s something that ‘likes’ on a post, or followers on a page can not achieve for you.
No job will create it.
No drone footage or
Internet video can capture it.
No paycheck will grant it.
No vice can grant that high.
You can’t show it to anyone.
It can not be touched by usefulness or acceptance.
And I find such freedom in all of that.
You have a bond with those that have gone through it as you have.
Yet you can’t find the words to encapsulate the commonality you share.
The best you can do is frame the experience with the particulars.
The details. The tangibles.
As much as those words describe literal occurrences, moments that happened during the race, or even training -
The communication has nothing to do with any literal word spoken.
What is actually being conveyed is: ‘I don’t know how else to say it either. But whatever that was, we both saw it. Experienced it. Participated in it. And it touched us. Transformed us somehow. But there are no words to describe any of that.’
So we talk around that which is not found by words.
Our words, at best, point towards ‘it,’ but very rarely, if ever, touch ‘it.’
‘And whatever I experienced that you didn’t, you will hold space for me and celebrate that, as I will do for you. For as much as we share in the inexplicability of it all, there is some for you only and some for me only.’
Those grand distances, those training seasons
Grant much perspective in many ways.
12+ months of commitment to it all.
A self-inflicted war. Battle.
One that has some life risk - health and potential injury or harm.
But then it is over. You cross the finish line (hopefully).
And realize the reward was behind you, at the whole season,
Not just at the finish line.
Yet the reward also lies ahead of you and among you, as it is a process,
For though the next race is a year or two down the road,
Now is the time to celebrate.
And now is the time to continue training.
Not necessarily for the next finish line,
Rather to participate in the ongoing presence -
The lifestyle continues,
As it was never really over.
By Dr Adam Fujita PT, DPT, CAFS
We are always running
Whether we know it or not.
We are either
Running from something.
Running towards something.
Something from our past.
Something we hope for in our future.
Whatever that something is
It acts as the driver of our perspectives, decisions, actions.
The engine behind our behaviors and wants.
“I wish ‘that’ never happened.”
“I hope no one will find out about that ‘mistake.’”
“If only they were there for me,”
“Why didn’t they even see me?”
“Such a regret.”
“I should not have drank that much and drove the golf cart through the bunker.”
“If this were to happen…”
“Once I buy that…”
“Once I move there…”
“If only I could…”
“Once that is out of the way…’’
“Once I’m done with this…”
There is no bad or wrong in either scenario.
It is not wrong to be running from the past.
It is not wrong to be running towards the future.
It is not a flaw, or a problem.
Nothing to be judged for.
Nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
We simply have the opportunity to observe it.
We are invited to be honest that we are one or the other.
And when we are ready, claim it.
Problems often arise when we do not acknowledge it,
When we are not honest about it.
Running is that which can
Clear my mind.
It allows me to sort through the day’s happenings, thoughts, feelings.
The clearing, the meditating opens up space to observe
That which I am running towards, from;
Be honest with it -
And then, but not always,
I fall into the moment.
Away from the running.
No sense of
To or from.
And I just am.
I am found in running.
Once I become aware of the flow,
It’s as though I come out of it.
I was in the moment -
The ‘lost-ness’ of it all.
And with that lost-ness,
Time fades away.
I find an utter connection.
To the trees around me
The ground beneath
The air, the energetical exchange within my lungs.
This feeling that my boundary is no longer contained in my body,
Nor does the separation with the trees, leaves, or birds exist.
The quietness of the woods fills me.
When I get lost in the moment
Lost in that moment of running
Loss of that awareness of self
Lose sight of the past, or the hopes on the horizon
I find in that connection with all.
It is at that moment in a run
Where I am no longer running from my past or lost in the future,
But present to that moment.
I can find me.
Occasional at most,
Am I able to be present.
It is in that moment, while running, when I am free of where I was or where I am headed.
And I am exactly there in that moment of running -
I am no longer running.
That moment. Connected within time, outside of time.
Outside of past regrets and shame.
Outside of future fear and anxiety.
I didn’t know I was running away or towards anything.
I started running.
By Dr Adam Fujita PT, DPT, CAFS
8 Years of clinical experience in the physical therapy environment.