100 Up Challenge

26 Aug 2014

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I am amazed at the power of the internet - how one piece of information leads to another and enriching your knowledge about a specific topic. Great!. Thanks to the Internet. Today, I stumbled across an old, forgotten exercise which could improve your running by leaps and bounds. Seriously!.

This is not a new exercise for us. We all would have done it at some point in our school life, during the drills, NCC parades or regular physical exercises in the school. Just that, now this exercise has a name and challenges associated with it.

The History

Walter George

This “Hundred-Up” exercise was created by W.G. George, the fastest miler of the 19th century, to perfect his running form. In George’s essay, he says he invented the 100-Up in 1874 when he was a 16-year-old chemist’s apprentice in England and could train only during his lunch hour. By Year 2 of his experiment, the overworked lab assistant was the fastest amateur miler in England. By Year 5, he held world records in everything from the half-mile to 10 miles.

Interesting. Could this exercise be the magic bullet for all runners?. I don’t know. The only way to be sure is to try this out.

The Exercise

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about a video?. I found this video on youtube, which clearly shows the Minor and Major variations of the 100-Up exercise. You can start with “100-Up Minor”. When you can comfortably do 100 reps (50 reps on each leg), please promote yourselves to “100-Up Major”. Please do this exercise on a daily basis (any time of the day) until you are comfortable with 100 reps (50 reps in each leg) in “100-Up Major”.

The Challenge

The Challenge is simple and more about the self-experimentation of the 100-Up exercise.

  1. Write down your last run’s time. - You can very well document every aspect of that last run. How did that run feel?. Did you feel comfortable or exhausted?. Did your leg/feet ache?. Did you strike on heel/middle/forefeet?. How were your stride and cadence?. How did you feel the next day?. Document every possible aspect of it.
  2. Learn and practice George’s 100-Up exercise for 30 days. - To get the effective results, count the day when you are able to do “100-Up Major” for 100 times, as Day 1.
  3. Run the same distance as in step 1. - How did this run feel?. Was it more comfortable?. You became faster/slower?. Did anything change at all?.
  4. Report the results in the comments section. - This would help other future readers in taking up this challenge and perfecting their form.

I am in for the “100-Up Challenge”, starting today. I am comfortable doing 100 Minors and 20 Majors. I think, in a couple of weeks, I should be able to do 100 Majors. I will post the results after 30 days.

Are you ready for this challenge?.

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