I went to a talk by Chris McDougall at the running store Run and Become last Friday (top tip: get on their mailing list – they have amazing speakers come in for free talks) and as it turned out he didn’t talk at all. While he has spent a lot of time conditioning his body to more natural movements, seems his throat hasn’t had the same luck and he came down with a bad case of laryngitis.
The upside to this was that Tara Wood from Wild Fitness did the talk (with some whispering by Chris) and no offence to Chris, but I enjoyed hearing Tara speak a lot as she brought a different perspective to Chris’ stories about natural movement. I’m not going to review the talk or the book (go buy it if you like good storytelling about our history as runners & movers) but I do want to draw your attention to Julie Angel and her See & Do project.
The thing about natural movement is that we are all built to do it. Modern fitness has almost nothing to do with our natural movements, and Tara said that, “”Modern fitness makes our body stupid and weird shapes.” The modern fitness trends have also created an artificial separation between men’s fitness and women’s fitness. While I do think there are some benefits to targeting men & women differently, the current divide is absolutely bonkers. I asked Tara & Chris if they see natural movement & natural fitness as being the ‘great equalizer’ and both couldn’t agree more. When you go to a climbing wall or watch parkour, women are often equal or stronger than the men. In ultra distance running, one of the most natural activities we as humans are built to do, women are winning races overall and the performance difference between genders is less and less.
So, what is stopping women from being strong and naturally fit? Julie Angel thinks it’s because we don’t see any other women doing it. By normalising images of women being active, Julie hopes to encourage more women to get involved and get doing. It’s such a simple premise there are people who criticise her for not doing enough, but I think it’s perfect. We live in such a visual world now with social media and images being thrown at us every day, why not do this?
Personally, I look at project’s like WMN RUN 100, and even things done by my friends like Laura’s ironperson, and am lucky to see women not only participating but winning and breaking boundaries. I think see&do is another great addition to my world of inspiration and hope it gets more women do-ing.
I was luck enough to see some amazing Women do on Saturday at the Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000 PB’s. Getting to watch world class athletics ( the England Athletics 10,000m championship race was incorporated) for free from lane 3 on the track was amazing. The cheering and atmosphere on the back straight put all cheering squads I’ve ever seen to shame. With a pub behind us, a DJ, and a dancing Knight, Flash & Pimp, the atmosphere was so amazing and I can only imagine how great it was for the athletes to run past.
Watching women run 32 minute 10ks only improved my confidence in my abilities to run fast and perform at my peak. I saw, now I’m going to do.