Running Form and Tension
I haven’t blogged for a while, very sadly my Mum passed away a month ago from breast cancer, she was too young to go and still had a lot of living left to do. My family and I are devastated but we have to get used to learning to live without her. I was in two minds whether to blog about it but it would be difficult to blog and not mention something so life changing. Needless to say the stress of dealing with a terminal illness takes its toll and that stress crept into my body and my running without me noticing.
During the time leading up to my Mum’s death I continued running, needed running, to keep me sane. However, somewhere along the line that tension manifested itself as soreness in my ankle/foot. No warning, just sudden discomfort even when walking. Until recently I thought I had become invincible, in running terms at least, bullet proof if you like. What I didn’t take into account was what was happening in my life had begun to affect my running. I had some physiotherapy and took two weeks off which was no harm in the circumstances and slowly began to build up again. When I started back I could still feel it and no matter what I did form wise, I just couldn’t shake it.
Last weekend, Danny Dreyer came to London to teach a couple of ChiRunning technique workshops here. They were two amazing days and many people were inspired to take their running to the next level. I was fortunate to be able to run with him while he was here. When we headed out, I could feel my troublesome foot straight away. Half way around the park, we took a detour into the empty children’s playground and ran across the sandpit. This is an exercise recommended in the ChiRunning book and one, which I am the first to admit, never do! The idea is to leave clean undisturbed footprints in the sand. If you are pushing off or holding tension in your ankles, you will see a crater at the front of your footprint. Now I could have sworn my lower legs were as relaxed as I could make them but the sand told me a different story! So over and back I went until I could leave cleaner footprints in the sand. I felt much lighter on my feet and the second half of the run was a different story. Funnily enough, by the end of the run my foot was no longer bothering me.
I have run twice since with no twinges and each time I have taken my little detour into the sandpit. The moral of the story is that there is always more work to do and that even when we think we are relaxed, we can learn to let go even more.
My goal for the next few weeks is just to work on more relaxation in my runs. No distance or pace goals, no races, just to use running as a vehicle to help me recover from the stress of the last few weeks and months.
Posted in Technique