Tips for Correcting Uneven Running or Walking Gait

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A couple great ways to know exactly how uneven your gait is is to watch yourself running on video or check your shoe tread. Most of us probably have some sort of uneven gait, but it might be more pronounced in some people than others. Balancing your gait is big step towards proper running technique.

The most important thing you can practice as you correct your gait is to let your lower body relax when you run. One thing Danny usually discuses at talks and ChiRunning workshops is the importance of “cooperating with forces.” Namely, the force of gravity and the force of the road. If you cooperate with the force of gravity by leaning into it, it’ll pull you down the road, so your legs can relax while running and won’t have to propel you down the road. If you cooperate with the force of the road, you continue letting your legs relax by letting the road pull your legs behind you. Suddenly, your legs aren’t really doing any “work” other than supporting your stride moment by moment.

When you think about your gait with the ChiRunning technique, I’d also encourage you to consider the rest of your body, not just your legs: instead of trying to make one leg less dominant or the other more so, think more about your core, your pelvic region, and so forth. The legs are just an extension of the body, and with the pain-free ChiRunning technique, keeping your core engaged is what makes your entire body (upper and lower) one unit.

The next time you’re ready to get started running, go slowly and deliberately. Start with a very small stride, so small that you think you’re barely moving, and focus on staying nice and relaxed, so that your legs are only acting as supports for your stride, not for propulsion. As you do this, pay attention to how your feet land, your midfoot strike, how they come off the ground, if one leg bends higher than another, if one hip is tighter and doesn’t allow as much free, open rotation. Just quietly pay attention to what’s going on with your legs. You can learn a lot by simply paying attention to your body and it’s habits.

Fixing an uneven running gait is a learning process, and it will probably take you a little while to really understand Body Sensing and put it to good use as you change your gait. Remember the principle of Gradual Progress and give yourself some time and space to examine your gait. If you have a friend who can video tape your running technique, that’s also a very fun and enlightening piece of training information that will give you a true view of what your body does as you run.

Resources to help you master the ChiRunning basics:

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