A Few Thoughts on Falling While ChiRunning

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As the ChiRunning book recommends, “If you're running on a very rocky trail, wear cycling gloves. They have padded palms in case you do a face plant …”

Oh, if only I had followed that piece of advice! But I had good reasons not to wear cycling gloves this morning:

  1. I had other gloves on
  2. I was running on flat terrain
  3. I was running on concrete

So why would cycling gloves have been helpful? Because about 20 minutes into running, I found myself sailing toward the sidwalk, hands thrown out, eyes wide – BAM! I hit the concrete, hard.

Having removed my “real” running gloves because I was too warm, and admittedly distracted by my monkey-brain as it flitted all over thinking about anything and everything, my poor palms were exposed to the ravages of cold, hard cement. And, of course, there were cars driving by, on their way to work and school; if I were driving one of those cars and had seen me falling down on perfectly flat terrain, I would have probably laughed!

Oliver was with me, but I can't blame him for tripping me; he was (oddly) running a safe distance behind me on his long leash. Maybe he knew my fate before I did!

As I sat up to assess the damage, he came over and licked my face, glad I was on the same plane as he. There's nothing like a scraped knee to take you hurtling back to the memories of childhood. Plenty bloody on palms and knees, I got up and “walked it off”. After several minutes the sting had worn off and I finished running gingerly and with more focus.

At the moment I fell I was so angry with myself, I was almost in tears, but within a few mintues, all I could do was laugh.

Luckily, I have only peripheral damage; my bones and ligaments appear to be intact, thank goodness.

A few things to consider if you're a twinkle-toes like me:

  1. To prevent falling, pick up your feet while running. Remember that this doesn't involve lifting your knees, but instead leaving your knees down and lifting your ankles.
  2. Stay focused. I was thinking about how I can incorporate more walking into my exercise routine and what that would look like on a daily basis and – BAM, I was on the ground. Remember to think about what you're doing!
  3. Stay soft if you fall. One of the most-recommended ways to fall, whether it's from your feet while running, or from a bike or from a ladder, is to stay limp. Children are prime examples of this; they fall all day long, and although they have plenty of bruises and scrapes, most often no structural damage happens because they're so relaxed.
  4. Assess the damage. If you fall, before you get up and start running away from the scene of the crime, make sure you're okay. Check to make sure your ankles, wrists, elbows, knees and neck are okay. If you're a bit bloody, that's okay. In my case I just left the wounds alone until I got home where I washed them out with warm water, soap, hydrogen peroxide, and applied a bit of antibiotic to keep them clean.
  5. Laugh it off. It's always fun to tell a good story about yourself, and when I got to the office, we all got a good laugh out of my antics. Typing and doing everyday activities is going to be a bit of a hassle for a few days, but I plan to just grin and bear it!

Posted in Technique, Training

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