Backward running a hit in Eugene, Ore.

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by Kim Holcomb / EVENING MAGAZINE

Bio | Email | Follow: @KimHolcomb

KING5.com

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Are you struggling a little with working out? Perhaps you are doing everything backwards.

The city of Eugene, Ore. has a jump start when it comes to running. With a world-class track stadium and home to Nike, it's part of daily life in the college town.

A former University of Oregon professor said runners actually should run in reverse.

"You get good at what you train at, so why not train at different things," Bates said.

Dr. Barry Bates pioneered research in retro locomotion -- or backward running.

Bates does three workouts a week backwards on his treadmill.

Dr. Janet Dufek, Bates' wife, said most people think the practice is crazy, but there are benefits.

A few hundred miles away in Woodinville, Wash., a high school athletic trainer uses retro locomotion too, for drills and practices.

Research shows backwards running can help athletes stay healthy and takes pressure off some joints.

"The mechanics of it lends itself to knee rehabilitation," Bates said.

Triathlete Sandy Laurence has been running backwards as part of her training for 20 years. She admits it isn't the most graceful exercise.

"You have to be willing to be a little bit embarrassed," Laurence said.

In Europe, there are organized retro locomotion races. Competition hasn't made it to the U.S. yet.

But with practice, anyone can take part in the exercise.

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