Running Form and Shoes
Before you start running it is likely you strap on a pair of running shoes that contain a number of features designed to enhance your performance and help keep you injury free. Every feature that is built into a running shoe already exists in your body in varying degrees. Practicing your ChiRunning form will help maximize these features.
Lets take a look at the features of running shoes, how they exist in your body, and how ChiRunning will help you develop these features.
1. Cushioning – The first feature running shoes contain is cushioning. Cushioning is designed to help lessen the impact running can cause on the body. As you start running with good form, utilizing a midfoot strike your body will be able to absorb impact through the arch of the foot, rotation of the pelvis, excellent posture, and relaxed muscles. Many ChiRunners start running with thick, heavily cushioned shoes and gradually progress to very minimal shoes. Their bodies become much better at absorbing the impact of the road. Many instructors are even able to practice barefoot running.
2. Stability – The next feature of running shoes is stability, which takes the form of medial posts. The idea behind this is preventing excessive pronation to help keep your body in alignment. With ChiRunning, excellent posture, a level pelvis and a focused mind become the stability. Just by leveling the pelvis you can gradually work to strengthen your arch and gain more stability in your running practice.
3. Flexibility – Running shoes have varying degrees of flexibility. Runners practicing power running often use a very stiff shoe. They are using the muscles of the lower legs which become very stiff. A stiff running may aid the toe off motion of power running, but it is not ideal for ChiRunning. As you practice your running form, you will gradually progress to a more flexible shoe that will work in harmony with your body.
4. Comfort – Power running can cause so much physical and emotional trauma on the body, that for many power runners their shoes are the most comfortable thing on their body. ChiRunning is a holistic practice similar to Yoga. This involves becoming more comfortable in your body. As you practice ChiRunning you will become more comfortable with your body. You will begin to look inside your body for a deep sense of comfort, rather than searching externally for a product to make you feel comfortable.
5. Aesthetics – Lets face it, people want to look good. If a shoe doesn’t look good many people will not wear it. Conversely, if a shoe looks great, people will wear it, whether the features it contains are in line with their needs or not. As you practice ChiRunning your stride will become more graceful and you will begin to move through life with a sense of ease and joy. In the shoe industry they talk about “design language,” similar to “body language.” Practicing ChiRunning will improve your posture and relaxation, so your body language will tell people you are relaxed, comfortable and stable.
The takeaway from this post is to asses your features. Ask yourself these questions:
How soft is my foot strike?
How stable do I feel when running?
How flexible am I?
How comfortable am I with my body?
What does my body language say to myself and to others?
If you have any questions about running shoes I would be happy to help.