Monday, February 6, 2012

ChiRunning Part 2

I'm not one who typically reads about running for fun.  Give me a Janet Evanovich book though, and now we're talking.

Up until recently, my running had been a drag.  Literally.  Or as Phillip and I say, 'Lit-rally'.  Imagine that with a British accent.

After an 8-mile run in early January, my knee went out on me, and was incredibly painful every run after.  Sometimes it wouldn't hurt until the very end, sometimes I could only make it a few miles before pain ensued.  Not cool when you're training for a marathon.

And then there was Chi.

It's been just over a week since I began to read about ChiRunning.  I even wrote a bit of how ChiRunning came about in Part 1.  I've been trying to implement what I've read about to see if it makes a difference.

And it has!  In the last week, I've had ZERO knee pain. 

Without going into the whole book, this is what I've learned that has really helped me:

1. Lean forward as you run.  Not from your waist, but a full-body lean, like the Nordic ski jumpers.  This changes your center of gravity, in which it essentially helps pulls you forward.  It uses less energy and effort than if you were to run straight up and rely on your legs to push you forward, allowing you to run longer before getting tired.

2.  Be aware of your legs.  Keep your legs relaxed, kick back your feet, and try to land on your whole foot instead of the balls of your feet.  Imagine how you would run if you were barefoot. When you bend your knee back, envision your knee bending at a 90 degree angle behind you.  Your knee shouldn't come in front of you, and your foot should really come off the ground.  This keeps your legs from getting tired quickly, and I found it really helps my stride. 

3.  R E L A X your whole body.  This includes your legs, ankles, feet, arms, shoulders, hands, wrists, neck, everything.  If you feel anything starting to tense, then do what you can to release it.  Maybe that means running slower.  Or perhaps letting your ankles or wrists flop.  Whatever you've got to do.

4.  Breathe in, breathe out.  If you've ever done yoga, you know how important breathing is.  It's the same idea for running.  When you take shallow breaths, your lungs aren't really getting enough air, and you tire quicker.  By taking deeper breaths, you use less effort, and you run easier.  Try counting to 4 as you breathe in and the same as you breathe out.  See if you can do that for an extended period of time.  I found it even helps with relaxing. 

5.  Really listen to your body.  Run without music for a while so you can really focus on how your body is working while you run.  Pay attention to your feet, your core, your lean, if you are relaxed or tense, and anything else that you might experience.

I'm telling you, in one week, no knee pain.  This is huge!  I won't get into the rest of the book, but it's loaded with great information.  Check it out.

End of January stats:
Total miles run in January:  74.1
Farthest distance in January:  8.16 miles
Total miles since August:  387
Total calories burned since August: 35,739

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