You Might Be A Runner If…

August 30, 2012 at 9:11 am 2 comments

you wake up in the morning excited to run?

That’s how I felt this morning and it was so weird! Awesome, but weird. Last spring when I was training for the RTO, sometimes I looked forward to my runs, but there was such a cloud of training anxiety hanging over my head–I knew I didn’t have enough time to get fully prepared–I was never purely excited. And prior to 2012, if anyone had told me I would one day look forward to running I would have laughed really hard. I always thought running was the worst thing ever, aside from pimento cheese.

This morning, however, I woke up to my alarm and was actually looking forward to getting out there! Tuesday’s run was basically a wash because my training partner and I were both out of sorts and not feeling very well. My back especially was still really sore and we did some light jogging but otherwise it was a very mellow morning. Today I felt like I hadn’t gone for a run since Saturday and was itching for it.

I guess that’s it. Now I’m hooked. I’m not totally ready to call myself a runner, but I’m inching along…

I’m also waking up looking forward to seeing the sunrise. Although I’m still waking up a little too late for it, the low sun on the horizon is so pretty.

This fall I will start seeing the real sunrise though and I’m looking forward to those views! It will also be nice to not be so blinded on some parts of my route.

So in addition to just being generally excited about running, I was also looking forward to practicing my chi running. Here are some things that are starting to become second nature: stride length (thank you metronome!), midfoot strike (most of the time), posture, and lean (I think). The things that I still have to focus on are: picking up my legs (instead of reaching out in front of me), arm swing (and thus pelvic rotation), and relaxing my whole body. Chi Running things I have thought about but haven’t integrated yet: breathing (from the belly and through the nose), gears (aka going faster), connecting with my chi. Obviously I am breathing while running and I have practiced the y’chi exercise–focus on one object in front of you and don’t break your gaze–but I have decided to get my form down and then to start more fully focusing on the breathe, chi and my speed.

The elements that aren’t second nature yet were my focuses today. It’s amazing how hard it’s been to break the habit of overreaching with my legs. Even though I don’t do it so obviously anymore, it’s a subtle thing and just a little bit of overreaching will send some pain signals to my shins. So to get myself to lift my legs up I focus on contracting my psoas muscles (which I talk more about here) and it helps me.

In terms of arm swing, it’s just a matter of remembering to do it. When I pump my arms sufficiently my pelvis automatically starts rotating. Because my lower back is still pretty sore, when I was focusing on my arm  swing, I immediately felt better. I can see why Danny Dryer wrote “if you’re not rotating your pelvis you’re not Chi Running.” When your legs are swinging up behind you, you are working with the force of the road, instead of fighting it. So, naturally, I felt less impact and stress on my body. Now the trick will be to just do it all the time.

Another discovery this morning was that when I allowed my pelvis to rotate I was also better able to fully relax my legs. I’m sure that has to do with working with the force of the road instead of fighting it, but I was much more able to think about my spine as my “needle” and the rest of my body as “cotton” moving around it. So far I’ve been mostly thinking about relaxing my legs, and the next step will be relaxing my shoulders and back as well.

So, all in all, I still have a ways to go, but I’m definitely making progress with both my Chi Running form and my general cardio. I’m building up to three miles for the Color Me Rad, and I’ve got one more run this week to round out week 2 of my 5 week training plan. D and I are travelling to the East Coast tomorrow for vacation, so the plan will be modified a bit, but I’m determined to keep at it. I’ve also decided to set my sights, ultimately, on a half marathon next spring, with some 5 and 10Ks sprinkled in between. You know, because I’m a runner now. :)


Entry filed under: 5k Training, Arm Swing, Chi Running, Morning Workout, Pelvic Rotation, Practice, Relaxation. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Weekend Adventures: Conquering Fear Why Chi Running?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steph  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Chi running has allowed me to start running again–my form was so bad I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really run at all. It’s really all about fixing your form by being mindful, working with gravity, and using your chi. I am thinking about taking a qigong class that starts in a few weeks! It looks like an interesting practice that would complement my running practice nicely.

  • 2. grackleandsun  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve been practicing qigong for years, but the chi running is new to me. Am curious… sounds like you are getting a lot out of it.


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