Running as a Body Loosener
I’ve been on holiday and so was my running for a lot of it! I did a lot of driving so my body was screaming to go running when I finally got the opportunity. Sitting in a car for long periods of time, or anywhere for that matter, does not do our bodies any good. My body feels tight and I stiffen up. So it was absolutely necessary to do the ChiRunning technique body looseners to begin with. You can find details of the body looseners in the ChiRunning book and on the DVD. I know we all lead very busy lives these days and sometimes fitting in a run can be difficult but I strongly recommend you learn and practise these loosening exercises at the very least before you go out for a run or anytime you happen to be on your feet with nothing better to do! These exercises will loosen your joints and allow your chi to flow freely. When your joints are loose and open, your muscles don’t have to work as hard to flex tight joints. You will feel the benefit of doing them whether you run or not.
I always do these before I go out running but after all the driving I had been doing, I spent more time than usual on them. I started out my run very slowly so I could listen to my body and give it time to warm up. Lately one of the questions I continually ask myself while out running is “Am I using my legs to run?” It is a great way to get feedback on my form. In other words, I might feel tension in my lower legs or maybe I’m pushing off or maybe I’m just working harder than I need to. If the answer is yes, then I need to make some adjustments. I start with my running posture and focus on the ‘C’ shape. I may have lost my lean, so I body sense feeling balanced in the window of lean. Perhaps I need to shorten my stride so I turn on my metronome and check my running cadence. Ideally I don’t want to feel that my legs are doing any work, merely supporting me between strides. When I’m aligned and leaning from the ankle, and everything is really relaxed, then the ground takes my feet up. There is no effort involved in getting them off the ground, they are just keeping up with my forward fall. I return from my run refreshed, relaxed and lot less stiffer then when I left.
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