So, this morning – I was unable to get myself out of bed to go and run. I think knowing it is around 30-40 degrees in the morning and 60ish after work is not helping. I see a pleasant evening run in my near future. However, since I did not run – this post must be about something else right? INDEED!
Yesterday, while reviewing interesting things on the Interwebs, I ran across a NY Times article by Christopher McDougall published the day before. It was, as one might expect when he is mentioned, about running. Specifically (again, no surprise) about something that could help barefoot/minimalist runners.
He had found an Essay written in 1908 titled ““W. G. George’s Own Account From the 100-Up Exercise.” Walter Goodall George was born in 1858 – so there were obviously no Nike’s, Fuel Belts, VFFs or any of the other wonderful things we are used to having as modern runners. With training himself – he ran his first race and won in 4:29 (with a 45-yard handicap given to him as he was a “noob.”) At the age of 21, he won the mile (again in 4:29) and the four mile in the 1879 Amateur Championships. Ho won the mile and four mile the following year at the Amateur Athletic Association, and set a new amateur world record in august with a 4:23.20.
After many more records and wins – he went “Pro” in 1885,and challenged the reigning champion – William Cummings on the 31st of August in 1885 – Beating him. In the rematch the following year, George won again – setting the world record of 4:12.75 – he held the record for 30 years.
I mention this background – so that we can see that W.G. George was not just a good runner – but the greatest runner of his time for the mile (and amazing in the 4 mile and 10 mile as well.) So – what was this 100-up that he used as a huge part of us original training?
From the NY Times Article:
“I snapped a twig and dropped the halves on the ground about eight inches apart to form targets for my landings. The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the “Minor,” you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. “Now raise one knee to the height of the hip,” George writes, “bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg.”
That’s all there is to it. But it’s not so easy to hit your marks 100 times in a row while maintaining balance and proper knee height. Once you can, it’s on to the Major: “The body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heels being clear of the ground and the head and body being tilted very slightly forward. . . . Now, spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip. . . . Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running.”
They also included a video – for those of us that might not grasp it just from a description in the article. The actually “100-up” seems to start around 1:30ish. Doing that 100 times? WOW!!!
I am definitely going to look into this one! IT should certainly be a great workout for my calves, and will help me continue to work on what has been the weakest part of my body!
naturallyengineered.com points out that “anything McDougall suggests will get an insane amount of hype” – so you will see ALOT of people claiming it is the ultimate answer. I will let you know how it works out for me.
I also found some interesting reading material on a forum from 2007 regarding this:
As I recall, he would run in place lifting his knees as high as possible and repeat this 100 times, at least once a day.
W.G. George actually wrote a book on it. But good luck finding it!
Editted at 12:42 – I have had more hits on this post today – than any other I have written has received in one day.
In further researching, there is a book about W.G. George called “Beer and Brine” that is available as an ebook for $9.99
To those stopping by – Are you going to try this exercise? What are your thoughts on it? I would love to hear them!