Running pain hurts in more ways than one

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Like my fellow ChiRunning Instructor Bloggers, I was recently in Asheville for the ChiRunning Instructor weekend. You have probably read about the incredible running experiences we had and what a wonderful opportunity it was for us all to focus even more on our running form. It was a happy band of midfoot strike runners that’s for sure. What struck me though during the introductions was just how many people had turned to ChiRunning because they were experiencing, or were tired of dealing with running pain and injuries. As each person reflected on those times there was a different tone in their voice.

When I got home (I live just north of San Francisco) I was excited to go running with some friends, get caught up and tell them about the weekend. Then, one friend called to say he couldn’t make it. The reason? A sore Achilles Tendon was creating too much running pain.

One of Danny’s articles on Running Injuries describes how you can become your own best detective and suggests some ways to deal with running pain. There is sound advice on overcoming Achilles Tendonitis on page 236 of the ChiRunning Book. Some of the form focuses my friend can work on include relaxing his lower legs, peeling his feet off the ground and lifting his heels. But what do you do to overcome the impact that running pain has on other areas of life?

We may suffer in different ways when we are unable to do the things we love. Whether you enjoy short or long distance running there’s some impact somewhere when you stop. For some people the impact may be physical (e.g. weight gain) and for others it may be psychological (no outlet for stress relief or dedicated time for self nurturing).  If you run with friends or a group you may miss the socialization benefits of running (and don’t forget the impact of that on your friends — they miss seeing you and sharing conversation and experiences too). And, of course, there can be financial impact if you have to seek treatment for the injury.

Before I started ChiRunning in 2002 I suffered bouts of running pain and endured the consequences. As I reflect back I realize just how out of balance my life would get when I had to stop running. The human body depends upon a delicate balance to function in an optimal way. Simply stated we need neither too much nor too little.  Everywhere we look the law of balance is at work. When we go beyond the boundaries of this natural law there is an inevitable price to pay. In the “Injury Prevention and Recovery” section of the ChiRunning book it says “pain is your body’s way of telling you to change how you’re moving”. Most running injuries come from overuse or not moving your body in the way in which it was designed. There’s a lack of balance and the impact of that shows up somehow somewhere.

We can learn so much about ourselves from running. If you have ever suffered from running pain what did you learn about yourself?

P.S.  My friend has not been a ChiRunner to date but he has now agreed to learn!


Posted in Technique

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