On the run: Chi Running?

Just as I’d made a new year’s res to do a 10K this year, along comes the idea to do a half-marathon Feb ’10. My friend Di (fam’s looking good, Di!) ups the ante on that idea and suggests one in Big Sur, CA this coming Nov. I protest, I dig in…and yet, somehow, I sort of agree.

My biggest concerns, other than somehow the pressure of training might make me fall head first OUT of love with running…were my heels and feet. I take such tender loving care of my heels and feet, as they hurt after long runs and require lots and lots of stretching and sometimes icing.

I thought: what on earth would they do after 13.1 miles?

At about the same time I’m mulling this thought over, I get my new book, Chi Running which I think is about the spiritual path of running but is instead about a new approach to the form of running based on T’ai Chi.

I’ve been reading it and here’s what I think initially: the promise is music to my ears (run injury-free!) and the book indulges in some pretty serious hard selling, all told. And I’ve now tried it two days in a row. I know I’m just learning, early days, novice and all but I can’t exactly say it’s a lot easier. It requires pretty different muscles and I can’t seem to get comfortable, though today was more comfy than yesterday.

On the other hand….my feet don’t hurt. No, they really don’t. In fact, they don’t feel like they’ve been running. Course, I’m not running full out, because I’m not comfortable running yet, and for some reason, though I don’t feel as tired, my legs feel not as strong as they were. And that tells me I’m either using different muscles or I’m doing it wrong or I’m in worse shape after the holidays than I thought.

But last week I ran 6 miles the old way and felt pretty strong. Today I just ran 5 miles and didn’t feel very strong…and I was running the new way.

Some observations: I’m probably not relaxed cuz I’m paying too close attention to what I’m doing; swinging my arms as suggested helps my forward motion but is more swing than I’m used to; focusing on the back kick is waaaay more than I’m used and requires something I don’t yet have nor know about. I’ve imagined myself standing on one foot while making dinner, holding my other foot up behind me to build the muscles it takes to get that high back kick.

But the lack of pain in my feet definitely has my attention, so I’ll keep at it.

More will be revealed.

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2 responses to “On the run: Chi Running?

  1. It’s exciting that chi running is working for you. I’m a beginner at it, but I’m practicing the standing forms only at this time due to injuries; I tried chi running when I hadn’t completely healed from my injuries, which only made things worse. When I completely heal, I’ll try again.

    Hope it’s still working out for you.

    • Thanks Jeff–I’m not consistently applying chi to my running, but it has changed the way I run overall. Thanks also for the reminder re the standing forms, I’d let those slide and I think they’re really important. Hope your healing process is swift and complete!

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