Running Form: How’s your Balance?

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ChiRunning teaches alignment and relaxation.  In order to remain injury free and energy efficient, both postural and directional alignment are key.  Many people are challenged on both fronts.  If you spend a lot of hours sitting down, your foundation is going to need some work! Years of slumping into a chair and over a desk will play havoc with your body.  You are no longer in touch with your lower abdominals and your glutes are weak.  A good starting point to improve balance and core strength is to work on posture, in the beginning it takes some effort to body sense and maintain it.  You must work on this when you are not running, all the time in fact, practice sitting ‘up’ in your chair too, not slumping into it.  Spend more time on your two feet rather than on your backside.   If you can master good posture day to day, it will be easier to transfer into your running. 

So you feel you have great posture when standing on both legs, what about on one?  Running after all is just a series of one-legged posture stances.  Most people carry muscular imbalances, the majority of my students are more stable on one side than the other. Again, there are ample opportunities to practice a one-legged stance during the day.  Waiting to cross the road, brushing your teeth and so on.  You may find that you can do this without a problem on your ‘good’ side but find it difficult to stay aligned on the weak side.  What is important is that you remain structurally aligned with a level pelvis and your lower core engaged.   Practice in front of a mirror to start with, notice that your body may drift more on the weaker side, if this is the case, stand side on to a wall to keep your body from drifting and practice until you feel you can balance on one leg on that side without using the wall to help you.   Pay attention to how balanced you are on your foot; you should feel your whole foot on the ground.  Ensure your entire leg is pointing forward, don’t allow your knee to travel in towards the midline.  If you notice the other hip drop, engage your lower core and level your pelvis.  If you intend to add either distance or speed to your running week and you have balance and stability issues, you are much more likely to get injured

Take the time to develop a sustainable body, one that will allow you to run for years to come.  You have the power to do so if you become mindful about how you use your body throughout the day.

More details about the posture and one-legged posture stances can be found in the ChiRunning book.

Happy running.

Michelle Muldoon
Senior ChiRunning & ChiWalking Instructor
London, UK

Posted in Technique

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