Running and Relaxation

Life has been pretty stressful over the last week or so.  Of course, the time of year doesn’t help either.  A bit of fire fighting needed to be done and too much time and energy has been spent on it but sometimes you must protect the reputations of others and stand up for what you believe in.  As a ChiRunner, the two most important things for me when running are alignment and relaxation.  So I am very grateful that I am able to run and escape from the stresses of life and spend a highly focused period of time switched on to my running form and how I am moving. I get to listen to my body and try to release any tension there and I also get to be outdoors enjoying the seasons, and even the cold weather, which has finally arrived here in the UK.  Today it’s snowing, which is extremely unusual in the London area.  It’s set to continue for a few days and I am looking forward to the opportunity to test my running form in these conditions.

Week 6 of marathon training continued to be educational with the focus on upper body.  Many people hold tension in their shoulders due to the fact that we spend a lot of time sitting at desks and in front of computers these days.  When running, the upper body is just as important as the lower body.  Next time you are out for a run, try to keep your upper body facing forward and allow your arms to swing gently to the rear.  Keep the shoulders down and quiet.  This is much easier to do if your body is aligned and the back of your neck is long.  Have a look at Danny’s video blog which explains how to lengthen the back of your neck.  If your arms are not swinging enough, then you are asking your lower body to do too much work.  Running is all about balance.

One of the week’s focuses was Y’chi, focusing on a point in the middle distance and getting your body to follow the direction of your eyes.  This is something I need to practise more; it fits well with the ‘C’ Shape focus and stops me from dropping my head and/or eyes. It keeps me aligned and I feel my effort level drop.  During my long run, I put it to good use and also worked on some focus pairs combining upper and lower body focuses.  Again, I finished the run feeling very strong with no trace of any muscle overuse in my body.  The day after my long run, I treated myself to a short run in my Vibram Five Fingers.  I love the freedom of running in them.  I intend to do a bit more running in them over the next few months but gradual progress is the key.


Posted in Beginners

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