Running from my Core
Its week 13 of marathon training and I have managed to keep up with the marathon training running plan more or less. I’m not quite where I should be in terms of the length of my longer runs due to other demands on my time and as the long run is the most important part of marathon training, I will have to decide at some point if my April marathon is too soon.
Running continues to get better and better. I am running more often and for longer which gives me the opportunity to practise even more. The habit of engaging my core and staying aligned has become deeply ingrained. If a run starts to feel like more effort, I automatically check my posture, level my pelvis and try to relax more to let pelvic rotation happen. I can truthfully say that pelvic rotation is the one focus these days that is guaranteed to reduce my effort and bring my heart rate down.
As I am in the conditioning phase of marathon training, I get to run faster now and then and move through the gears. It feels great to pick up the pace after a long time spent mastering my technique at slower paces and generally building base. During these runs, again it’s about running from my core and not using my legs to pick up speed. I just lean a little more and relax my hips and legs and speed happens.
This week I had the opportunity to give an introduction on the Chi Running technique to a great bunch of people. When I left them, they were very excited and the room was buzzing. I hope that the runners who were present get to experience injury free running for themselves and that the non-runners will be inspired to take up running.
Running has been all over the news the last few days following a study by Dr Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University which compares the gait patterns and subsequent impact of runners in shoes and those running barefoot. One of the findings shows that the runners in shoes had greater collisional forces than the barefoot runners. Check out the video and listen on NPR.
Running shoes with their cushioning and chunky heels encourages a runner to land on their heel and heel striking is recognised as being one of the biggest causes of running injuries. I’m not suggesting that you bin your shoes but one of the principles of Chi Running is gradual progress and this applies to shoes also. The Chi Running technique teaches you how to land with a midfoot strike and to work on your running technique first and foremost. As your technique improves over time, you can consider running in less of a shoe. Before I knew anything about running technique, I always thought the answer to my many running injuries was in the ‘right’ pair of shoes. This proved not to be the case and a realisation that only I could make the changes in my own body to prevent injury.
I am lucky enough to no longer need orthotics and be able to run in minimalist running shoes . I run in Vibram Five Fingers once a week to further hone my technique.
These days I run from my core and the shoes have nothing to do with it!
- marathon training,
- midfoot strike,
- barefoot runners,
- injury free running