NO RUNNING! — Lesson of the Week #5

March 3rd, 2012 in NO RUNNING by 2 Comments


To get lessons sent to your phone, text the words FOLLOW NORUNMARK to 40404.

Alan Webb was arguably the greatest American miler in history. He set the American Record at 3:46.91. He also holds the American high school record (3:53.43) and was the first American high schooler to run under 4:00 indoors.

But none of this may have happened if he had weak/flat feet. As it turns out, he actually did have flat feet as a freshman in high school. He was also critiqued for having terrible form. The two were likely related. However, thanks to foot strengthening exercises, he went from a size 12 to a size 10. If that makes no sense, lay your feet flat on the floor and curl your toes. You’ll notice that your arch raises and your foot takes up less space.

Webb wasn’t alone. As a high school freshman I was found to have flat feet. Our school nurse told me that I could never become good runner as a result. After running a 5:13 that year, she appears to be correct. 5:13 was pretty good for a freshman, but nothing to get overly excited over. Several Massachusetts freshmen were running under 5:00.

Over the next several months, I curled my feet while sitting in class (I now call them “foot crunches”). After awhile, my feet became beefier. More importantly, I developed a bit of an arch.

That year, my time dropped 46 seconds to 4:27. Of course, being a year older and having a great coach were the main factors. However, not every freshman improved by 46 seconds. Thus, I have to give some credit to those foot drills. Now, at 41 years of age, I continue to do at least a few “foot crunches” almost every day. They’ve paid off handsomely — I just ran 23.71 for 200M, becoming the first Masters All-American for the 2012 spring season 🙂

This article can help to understand the importance of having strong feet/arches:,7120,s6-240-319–532-2-5-2,00.html

This article provides some useful exercises:

FYI, you didn’t hear it here, but a NO RUNNING Training Club may be coming to Miami soon. Stay tuned!

To get lessons sent to your phone, text the words FOLLOW NORUNMARK to 40404.

Author: Mark


I ran 1:49 and 48 and 15:12 with flat feet. I never had bad form or arch problems. Oh yeah since I ran at UCI I must differ with you because fellow UCI alumnus, Steve Scott, was far and away the best American miler ever!
But now I am age 54. I just read “Born to Run” and am very curious how it is possible to create more of an arch in my feet. Not sure if it would even help but the barefoot running would seem impossible. I am a prisoner to my orthotics I suppose.

Steve K


It’s a nice club. I think I need something like this.



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