Lace up, and don’t forget your biodegradable bag, a few tennis balls, and you’ve been practicing your cartwheels, right? Here are the five strangest running trends heating up the pavement—would you try them?
No, you don’t have to break out your Richard Simmons-inspired workout wear. Retro running is another name for backwards running or reverse running, and according to enthusiasts, it’s not all fun and games: it’s been shown to burn more calories than regular running, improve balance and posture, and even boost regular running performance. It may even make you smarter, since the extra coordination backwards running requires works your brain along with your legs.
Fusion workouts have been popular for a while now, and despite the often silly names that result (we’re looking at you, yogilates), combining two different fitness styles can be a great way to create a more balanced, powerful workout. Enter Chi Running, a pairing between running and Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese martial art that focuses on fluid, gentle movements and aims to achieve mental and physical harmony. A tempting concept when you’re pushing through your sixth mile as the sun rises. Chi Running teaches you how to use your center to transform your running, and how to connect the body and mind to prevent injury.
Who hasn’t had a near-death experience dodging litter during a run? If you have a need for speed and a desire to do your part to give back to Mother Nature, eco-running might be for you. The premise is simple: grab a biodegradable bag and collect litter as you go along your route—it’s an easy way to do good…and to catch your breath on a long run.
Follow your own way: that’s the mantra of free running, a creative discipline that incorporates a little bit of flair into running in the form of acrobatics, flips, spins, and more—think stunt-filled martial arts films or any comedy-action film where hi-jinks ensue during an elaborate chase scene. Developed as an offshoot of parkour, free running also aims to make use of the landscape around you as you run, so when you hear a free runner saying they hit the wall—they may be speaking literally!
Some of us aren’t coordinated enough to drink from a water bottle without drenching our sports bras while we’re on the go. And some of us can juggle while pounding pavement…literally. There are joggling races held all over a country (even an annual world championship), though you may also spot the multi-taskers at regular local races and marathons too. But don’t think these runners are just goofing off: the record marathon time for a joggler is an impressive 2:50:09, and one runner even pulled off two extreme running trends at the same time, completing a 50-mile ultra marathon in 8:23:52.