The Mindful Chi Running Gym Rat (treadmill, bike, pool) - Chi Running

The Mindful Chi Running Gym Rat (treadmill, bike, pool)

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Thu Jan 19th, 2012, 7 comments

Did a gym workout and did the running treadmill, spin bike, t'ai chi, and swimming. It was freezing cold outside so I was drawn to being indoors (I’m turning into some kind of heat junkie in my old age.)

I have to admit, treadmill running is not my favorite. Regardless, I needed a good run. My day at the gym started running on the treadmill with 2 miles of progressive pacing with treadmill angled at 1.5% grade. I watched my reflection in the TV screen (off) and followed my image to see if I was bouncing up and down, or swaying side to side. I tried to Body Sense what running technique change made the biggest difference (pelvic rotation had a distinct effect on any bouncing). Another check-in I did was to look at a side-view mirror to see if both heels were coming up symmetrically (my left foot can be lazy and not float as high as the right). And, I tried to feel for the correct angle of slope on the conveyor belt that created the same tension on my achilles tendon as when I'm running on flat roads. I also spent some time practicing my pelvic rotation. Keep these Focuses in mind next time you’re forced to run on the treadmill.

Then, to the Spin bike. I raised the seat post to where my toes were just able to stay with the pedals and used the toe clip/straps so that I could pull up on the pedals. Then I did 1-minute heel-lifting drills at 90 rpm, using no downward pressure on the pedals (lifting only), followed by 30sec. of resting spin @90 rpm. Did 5 intervals (building up to ten would be suggested). Sat upright in the seat throughout the entire set of drills to allow the hip flexors to open up after contracting them on the pull-up. This is a great, pain-free workout and perfect for triathletes wanting to practice T-2 from the bike to the run. Lifting on the pedals for the last 200 meters of the bike leg will prepare your body for the run by firing the hip flexors, relaxing the lower legs, and setting the cadence at 90 spm as you take off on your run.

After the bike, I went into an adjoining mirror-lined room and did 15 minutes of t'ai chi, which really brings my whole body into a sense of quiet unison.

Finally, I went to the pool and swam 20 laps working on the following focuses: relaxing my arms as I bring them forward and into the water; not initiating the pull stroke until my other hand enters the water. Lengthening my posture line and keeping the crown of my head pointing forward at all times. Relaxing my legs as much as possible and using them only minimally.

I came away feeling that wonderful sense of “pleasant fatigue” having had a very full-bodied workout. It felt so good, I’m thinking of trying to get one of these workouts in at least twice a week. As I get in better shape on the bike and the swim (my weak areas) I’ll be able to increase the intervals and/or the intensity. Who knows I might someday try a TRI!


  • t'ai chi,
  • treadmill,
  • swimming,
  • triathlon

7 CommentsLeave a comment below

Keith McConnell Jan 19th, 2012 05:10pm

Exciting new indoor adventure. Good modelling of using focus and self awareness in running, biking and swimmimng as well as Tai Chi. Sure beats the extreme cold!

Great points Danny!  Cold is hard on me since I turned 40. I found out I have Reynauds so my fingers freeze and turn yellow at anything 40 degrees or less! 

So, I have to hit treadmill inside sometimes.  When on a treadmill I play with technique and make sure I am treading lightly by listening to my feet hit the mat.  If form is bad, it is much louder/harder pounding.  Again, proof that a light footstrike can lessen pounding.  Also, sometime I put my hands on treadmill arms to isolate legs and really feel my pelvis rotate. It can be fun if you make it- especially with speed intervals and good tunes!

i am just about preparing a tri! actually it is my second one but it is the first i am doing while paying attention to the chi skills. i feel centered, confident and most of the workouts feel effortless.

In Germany it is very very cold these days. So in order not to get ill I am forced to train indoors.

And you tips will help, thank you for that! wink

Kind regards

So, I have to hit treadmill inside sometimes.  When on a treadmill I play with technique and make sure I am treading lightly by listening to my feet hit the mat. tn

Good for you Steve!  It might be boedrom, or the warmer temps indoors or even your stride.  I’d put my money on the excitement of the crowd in the race!  It will push you to run fast every time!

Sounds like you may be a TI swimmer, are you?

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