Friday, July 10, 2009

running backwards

while on vacation last week, i snuck in a few runs with my old running buddy kt and one of her new running friends. apparently a lot of the girls she runs with in her new, beach town add a little backwards running on the end of their runs.

it looked interesting, and after a decent 10+ mile run i welcomed finishing (forward motion) short of the house. we turned around and (very) slowly ran backwards down kt's street. it's an interesting feeling; i definitely thought i was going to wipe out on my butt the whole time, but it was kind of fun. the fact that it was super easy on the legs was nice too.

i asked kt's friend what the purpose was of running backwards and she said it helps balance out the muscles. she ran in college (ohio university if i remember correctly?) and they ran backwards in training sometimes. her old coach recommended running backwards for 1/4 the length of what you ran forwards, but she said she wasn't so sure how that fits in with marathon training (vs cross-country) since there are a lot more miles.

it sounds good in theory and the activity/motion doesn't hurt, so i've thrown on a few minutes of backwards running at the end of some of my runs lately. it also forces me to have more of a cooldown instead of just stopping cold-turkey. this guy's write up on running backwards and it's benefits sounds pretty good to me. i'm not going to attempt any serious goals with this, but i would like to continue to switch it up a few days a week in reverse at the end of some runs. in the very least, i'll be slowly lowering my heartrate before rushing into the sweet air conditioning.

today it was t-storming after work so i hopped on the 'mill for an easy run. afterwards, i thought i'd turn around and 'run' a little backwards (on a much slower speed of course than forwards). not the brightest idea to try and run backwards on the treadmill. just an fyi.
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28 comments :

  1. Would have liked to seen a pic of the running backwards on the tread!
    Interesting theory-knowing me, I'd break something for sure!

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  2. I remember after I had ACL surgery one of the exercises they gave to me was to walk backward after having walked forward. When I was on the treadmill, I got quite a few odd looks. Haha. That is really a great idea! I'll try that out on my next run!

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  3. Hoo! Running backwards on the treadmill? Hilarious!

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  4. In HS, we used to do drills after a run and one of the drills was running backwards. But it's not the same form as when you were running forward. You extended your legs a lot more forward to really stretch the leg muscles.

    Maybe I'll try running backwards toward the end of my runs, see if that helps..

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  5. I'll have to try that with my drills.

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  6. Maybe I'll try that today. Does it make the hill that leads to my house downhill instead of uphill...

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  7. i've never heard of backwards running as a training technique...i'll have to give it a shot (but not on the mill)

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  8. Hmmm....interesting. I sometimes have my clients run backwards up hills during Stroller Strides classes during intervals, but never thought about the benefits to me after a run.

    I'm going to give it a try! It can't hurt (unless, of course, I fall on my arse lol). Thanks

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  9. Some of the hill drills I've done had us running backward and I've done it on the treadmill....its scary on there...I had to have someone increase the speed for me...haha :)
    Good post!

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  10. Hope your head cold is better!

    You know - the gym I go to - there's a guy who gets up on the treadmill and does the backward run for 15 to 20 minutes at at time. If I tried that I would be flat on my face within about 10 seconds!

    And everyday I visit your blog, I like your banner photo more and more. Now that I'm putting in some distance, that picture says it all without saying a word.

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  11. Very interesting. I usually fail at the cool down so maybe I should try adding in a few minutes of backward running. Of course, I'd be very afraid of the teenage boys in my 'hood pointing and laughing at me but I'd get over it, I'm sure!

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  12. HAHAHA, I don't think I'm coordinated enough to run backwards on solid ground, nevermind the treadmill! I give you credit for trying, though ;)

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  13. Interesting stuff, makes perfect sense of course so does riding a bike!

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  14. i love running backward and i try to incorporate it into most of my runs, even if only for 100 yards or so at the end. i've also found that running backward for a couple of minutes in the middle of a hard run when i'm starting to feel tired/sore helps me feel better.

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  15. I took a bootcamp class last year and we did a lot of backward running. Thanks for reminding me of that. It takes a little time to get used to it, but it is fun

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  16. I took a bootcamp class last year and we did a lot of backward running. Thanks for reminding me of that. It takes a little time to get used to it, but it is fun

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  17. interesting. may have to try that out. prior to tonight's beer, of course. lol!

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  18. Cool idea! Like you, I think it would be most beneficial for me in that it would provide a cool-down.

    Just be careful. ;)

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  19. Wow, I love the idea of backward running- that sounds great. I would definitely kill myself if I did that on the treadmill though haha

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  20. i saw a studly guy doing some backwards intervals at the track. looked cool!

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  21. I have heard that going backwards is a good way to cool down.

    I was running on a treadmill once and the guy next to me turned around and walked backward for a few minutes before getting off.

    A lot of people do it, so it has to be good for you right?

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  22. I've tried walking backwards on a treadmill as a cool down because I've heard it is beneficial... felt like an ass and almost landed on mine!

    Perhaps I'll have to give it a go on roads though. Off to read the article, love new and interesting bits of info! Thanks for the link.

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  23. I can barely stay upright running forwards - I'd totally fall on my @$$ trying to run backwards!

    I've seen one person doing it up on the boardwalk though - makes sense how it would balance everything out.

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  24. I've tried running backwards and nearly killed myself... Good for the balance if nothing else!

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  25. I'm definitely not sold on backwards on the -mill, but I do like to do it outside. Have you never walked backwards to give your legs a rest during a race?

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  26. Yeah, I think I'll pass on running backwards on the treadmill but did you know some people run marathons the whole way backwards? I saw a guy at MCM doing that a few years back. Must have a strong neck too from turning around so much.

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  27. I'll be interested to hear whether you notice a difference after a while ... seems like one of those things that sounds crazy, but makes a big difference form-wise, like bounding. Also, thanks for the image of this being done on a treadmill. I echo previous commenters in saying I'd almost certainly kill myself. :)_

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  28. One time I spotted a lady walking backwards carrying an umbrella. Must be another type of work-out. Maybe I'll at that to my routine. ;-)

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