Wednesday, 2 November 2011

One Step Forward

Last weekend I accompanied a friend on a short run.  It was a cool and sunny morning so I was enjoying it tremendously, happy to be out in the early morning air.  My friend is new to running (or rather, getting reacquainted with it after many years of estrangement) so she was running at a pace that was challenging for her but was not, alas, comfortable for me.  I'm a very fast walker so I tried walking alongside her but that felt awkward too so in an effort to find a compromise between speed and comfort, I eventually turned around and started running backward.  Obviously I wasn't running backward at the same pace that I run forward but it felt quite comfortable (except for the nagging fear that the next sound I would hear would be the *BONG* of my head hitting a light post) and I was able to keep pace with my friend as we chatted and moved along our route.  After the run I was not at all fatigued but very surprised to feel like my abs had had a good workout.  Who'da thought?

This is the starting line, not the finish!

Out of curiosity I went home and Googled "backward running".  To my surprise and delight, there is a whole world of backward running!  It seems that backward running (also known as reverse running and retro running) is a legitimate sport and exercise in its own right.  It has its own clubs and races, has many websites dedicated to its practice, and boasts an impressive list of benefits.  One of those benefits is, as you may have guessed, that it is great for the abdominal core muscles.  I think I am going to find somewhere safe and level and obstacle-free (such as the local high-school track) and incorporate some backward running drills into my routine so if you see me waving at you and running but getting smaller and smaller, it's not an illusion.  I'm running backward!

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