The Importance of Alignment when Running
Last week, I travelled to Asheville in North Carolina for a ChiRunning weekend retreat with Danny, Katherine and many of my fellow ChiRunning Instructors. It was a fantastic weekend with great people, glorious weather and an opportunity to share and learn from each other. The countryside was stunningly beautiful in full autumn colour. Running at sunrise at the Highland Lake Inn was pretty special. I’ve come back to the UK refreshed, energised and focused.
Back home, it’s week 3 of marathon training so what did the Marathon Training Program have in store for me. Still in the form phase of training, a 45 minute form interval run with the 2 form focuses being the one-legged posture stance and the “C” Shape. I set my watch to beep at one-minute intervals and the plan was to practise focus 1 for one minute on/one minute off for the first third of the run; then practice focus 2 for one minute on/one minute off for the second third of the run. Then practise both focuses together for the remainder of the run.
The weather back in London wasn’t as kind as in North Carolina and so a little jetlagged I headed out for my run into strong swirling winds.
Before I started out I practised engaging my lean from a standing position for a few minutes. Once I was running, the importance of the two focuses became clear. As long as I stayed aligned in the one-legged posture stance, then I could allow the wind to catch my fall when it was in front of me. When the wind was behind me, I relaxed and let it push me forward picking up speed until the wind direction changed again.
I noticed from the many photos taken over the weekend that I have a tendency to look down so my focus on the “C” Shape really helped with this. Lengthening the back of my neck lengthens my whole spine, stops me from decompressing and helps me to breathe more easily.
A run that could have felt difficult in the conditions, turned out to be relatively effortless and the result was that I finished the run with more energy than I started.
Every time you are on your feet is an opportunity to practise the one-legged posture stance and the “C” Shape. The more often you practise when you are not running the easier it will be to feel what it feels like when you are running. Get aligned and stay aligned, all the other focuses depend on it.