Joseph Pilates wrote about whole body health and whole body commitment in Return to Life. I have been teaching and practicing Pilates since 1984. I have been running since 1976. I was a dancer. Running was very hard. My legs hurt and my aerobic endurance was challenged. Dancers move very quickly across the dance floor everyday of class in every direction. When running forward became too painful, I would slide sideward or backward. That was easy. I continued to run. Current articles informed me that this was healthy. I assumed that it would become more comfortable as time passed.
I moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1982. Boulder is a center for high altitude training. I put on my shoes and set out within a few days. The thinner air at one mile high was a challenge, but I adapted. The legs still hurt, but this was good for heart rate and bone density. I kept going my distance. Elite runners would pass me on the paths. I noticed that some had posture that would only lead to injury. Would they run for health at 60 without a functional core and poor lower extremity alignment?
Running generates a feeling of power to know that distance can be covered without a car. I hiked and ran at elevation. My husband, who was an expedition climber, was astonished at how fast I could navigate a scree field. (Scree, also called talus, is a term given to an accumulation of broken rock fragments at the base of crags, mountain cliffs, or valley shoulders.) Scampering down a scree field, requires focus on the next footfall and immediate response to shifting balance.
Despite running for over thirty years, my doctors began to tell me that running was bad for older people. They also informed me to do some exercise that was aerobic and weight bearing. Is that confusing information? Pilates and running are my preferred exercise forms. I can run anywhere and at any time. Runners have an opportunity to commune with nature. The Pilates studio has a flat terrain and the summit is the Trapeze Table. There are no foxes, coyotes and turtles under the Reformers.
Last year I had an unexpected health crisis. This involved a bowel resection and two surgeries. I was told that it might take me a year to recover. I began to walk on the treadmill. In four months I was doing the entire Pilates Mat series. Five months later, the running shoes were calling out.
After finishing the Franklin Method ® Teacher Training Level I, which includes the anatomy of the bones of the foot, I was questioning the concepts of stabilizing the functional movement of the foot with specialized shoes in sports. I discovered www.runBare.com and questions were answered. I bought my five fingers and set out for a short run. I had not run since early May. I ran faster, further, and without pain. My bunions did not complain. My feet felt fantastic. The MCL tear from skiing Avalanche Bowl was quiet. The achy hip from a 1991 car accident felt great. My lumbar and sacral spine felt fantastic. Pilates and running is my preferred method of exercise, and I can run again! Trust your feet.