Running and Rhythm

It’s week 10 of marathon running training.  The weather is conspiring against me and the ‘big freeze’ has made following the marathon running training plan challenging to say the least. I was away for Christmas and I brought my beloved NB790s with me not thinking about the weather.  As much as I love these shoes, they have zero traction and are downright dangerous when running in icy conditions.  So I missed a couple of runs and had to reduce the length of my last long run because I fell!  No damage done, just some bruising and I’ve been fine since.

While I was away, I also had to confront serious illness in my family and the emotional roller coaster ride that ensued. The stress of this was transferring itself into my running.  I felt tightness in my hip following a long run which was probably due to tension in my body.  I lost my rhythm,  the icy weather conditions threw me, inappropriate footwear compounded the problem and my mind was elsewhere.  I needed to forget about specifics of the marathon training plan for now and just try to run on the planned days with the only focus to be on relaxation.

One of the week 9 focuses was to “set your metronome 1 beat/min faster than last week”.  Cadence was always one of my weaknesses when learning the ChiRunning technique.  I put this down to being a particularly long-legged creature but I still felt that a cadence of 86 for each leg should be achievable and I thought I was there so many times but it would inevitably drop the longer I was out running.  I have spent the best part of this year ensuring that this is now the case and I am happy that this is a comfortable and sustainable rate for me at all speeds. So I thought, why not, let’s crank the metronome up to 87 and see how it feels.  Well it felt good!

The combination of relaxation and the small increase in cadence enabled me to feel that flow in my running again. I listened to my body and let the tension that had gathered slip away. The opportunity to focus my mind and shut out the difficult circumstances around me was welcome. ChiRunning gives me that and I am grateful for it.

Don’t overlook cadence when practising ChiRunning.  Each part of the running technique plays its own special role in reducing your effort and becoming more efficient.  Most runners that I meet have a cadence lower than 85.  It will take some effort to increase it but as long as you use the principle of gradual progress and are persistent with practising, you can do it. You will spend less time on the ground, your running will feel more fluid and your body loves rhythm.  The key thereafter is to try to keep the same cadence no matter what your speed.

Meanwhile, back in the UK the ‘big freeze’ continues to tighten its icy grip.  I have had two beautiful runs in the snow over the last 2 days and felt like I was in a scene from The Chronicles of Narnia!  However, I am meant to be in the conditioning phase of my training and at the moment I am very lucky to get out running at all with the conditions underfoot.  The question remains as to whether I will be able to get the training in for the Brighton Marathon and perhaps I might have to wait a bit longer to run my first marathon.


Posted in Beginners

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