ChiRunning Update

My first ChiRun was about as difficult as trying to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time. My inability to grasp the running concept right out the gate made me think about how difficult it can be to keep your mind and body in tune while staying relaxed- the general premise of ChiRunning. My inaugural run also showed me why ChiRunning can be effective, so I have decided to stick with it. To help me find my Chi, I’m reading Chi Running by Danny Dreyer.

Posture

“When your posture is aligned properly, your structure is supporting the weight of your body instead of your muscles having to do it.”
- ChiRunning
Overall, the most difficult challenge was keeping my shoulders, hips and feet aligned. My typical running posture if very upright, I keep my abs tight and chest out. My shoulders and arms always remain relaxed and by keeping my abs tight, I feel as though I am taking pressure off of my back. By running this way, I am supporting my weight with my muscles. The adjustments I had to make were to relax my shoulders more and stop poking out my chest. My upper body was screaming “What are you doing?” throughout the entire run. Not only did this not feel natural, but it was hard to maintain. In addition, I didn’t know what to do with my arms. How do they fit in with this new “relaxed” posture? At one point, I just let them fling around by my side.

Mind
“Like a meditation practice, the training of the mind and body in ChiRunning is more relaxing than letting the mind wander.”
- ChiRunning
Training your mind to not wander has to be an art. I’ve tried to do this when running, during yoga and while praying. I have yet to succeed. If I am not thinking about something, solving a problem or brainstorming while I am running, I feel as though I’m not doing a good job of multi-tasking. Sometimes I’m so consumed with my thoughts, that I am not paying attention to my surroundings. This is definitely a habit I need to break.

Relaxation
My stress level has gone from a 3 to a 9 over the past couple of weeks and my PMS is not helping. Physically, I can feel the tension in my shoulders, neck and head. It seemed like the more I tried to relax my shoulders during my run, the more they ached. At one point, the tension felt like it was spreading from my shoulders to my lower back. Again this may be part PMS, but a lot of it is stress.

As I continue to learn ChiRunning, I am focusing on my form, meditation and speed. Any ChiRunners have any tips to help me? Any advice on meditation?



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