Attempting To Mimic Certain Non-Human Animals May Help Your Running

You can learn from animals, to improve your sport, and save animals in the process.

Non-Human Animals Can Be Great Running Inspirations. Photo by Jess Young at

Non-Human Animals Can Be Great Running Inspirations. Photo by Jess Young at

I was working out at the track the other day, when I overheard my number two son, Duncan, who was ‘running the stairs,’ say to his friend, whilst pointing towards the track, “That is why I have to stay in shape, to stay ahead of them.” He indicated his mother, Sheelagh, and myself. Sheelagh runs with a shuffle-step, but she comes from a family of runners. I have a kind of Chi Running style, but not a shuffle. What I did notice was that Sheelagh was pulling away from me, even though I was holding a steady 9:30 pace, yet she seemed to be hardly moving. The shuffle is deceptive and it can be very effective for distance runners. This observation led me to think about how different animals run, and how visualizing them can help your running. Here are two examples that have assisted me with (1) high cadence, and (2) relaxed, smooth body movements.



There are a number of martial arts approaches that recommend imitation of animals. Just watch Jackie Chan doing Drunken Monkey. I have found that running can also take advantage of such mimicry or visual meditation.

I did try Kangaroo the other day, but it didn’t help a whole lot.

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.