Chi running

As my running onboard ship was a bit "difficult" ( too many old F***s strolling around hand in hand!! :) ) - I did a bit of reading. I reread the Chi-Running book and re-watched the video and tried to do some practices.

I have always believed ( after watching some short videos of myself running) , that I run too "upright" . But this is what many/most books say to do - however when I watch other better runners than me , I can see that they have a forward lean and heels that "kick up" behind them. I have also read that the fastest way to run is not to increase the stride forewards ahead of you - but to increase the length of the stride AFTER you!! I have also been suffering a bit of calf muscle tightness ( after 2 years of running ) -- actually , a LOT of calf muscle tightness. So whilst onboard ship, I have tried just a little to "lean forward" as I ran - and my calf muscles immediately stopped complaining and I could feel my pace speed up considerably . - but this was only over VERY short distances!!!

I have tried this before - but found it to feel "unnatural" and "uncomfortable" but I am now thinking that practicing it would be very good!!! Basically you are using the force of gravity to propel you forwards rather than muscle strength - your legs only support you and stop you from falling face into the ground. Your forward speed depends only on your angle of lean and your body centre of gravity position determines your speed across the ground - your legs only keep up with your body!! :)

I am going to play around with this more

11 Replies

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  • I had a go at this too recently, I took my metronome with me and did 1 KM at each of 180, 170, and 160 BPM. during a 10 KM run. The 280 was fastest but knackered me!

  • Oh, and welcome back, I've missed you!

  • I went on a Chi Running course once and found it very useful .. although I must admit to forgetting a lot of the content. However, I am a firm believer in trying to get a good running form and that forward lean certainly does help. Whilst "youngsters" can use their natural stamina to keep them going, us more mature runners need every tip and trick we can find!!

  • Interesting... think I might try a bit more forward lean myself. I notice that when I increase my speed I tend to go more upright (not sure why). I am always conscious of that heel kick thing but I don't think it comes naturally to me yet.

  • I've been trying this too but it's important to remember that the lean should come from the ankles and not from bending the upper body forward from the waist (which is all too tempting when you're tired)

  • For anybody who has NOT experimented with forward lean while running - try this exercise.

    Stand on two feet - well balanced. Then shift your weight to (say) your left foot and lift your right foot slightly off the ground. You will be then standing on one foot - well balanced. In either of these two positions your centre of gravity is directly over your feet, both or single ( otherwise you would topple and fall over)

    Then lean forwards so that your centre of gravity moves forward - you will soon find that if you don't do something quickly, you will fall flat on your face - so you will instinctively place your right foot in front of you to prevent this. You only need to place your right foot a little way ahead such that it is directly under your new centre of gravity to maintain your balance instantaneously . If you keep this process going, you will discover that you are running and the further you lean forwards , the faster you will go. You will find that if you lean too far forward, your legs wont be able to keep up with your body - so essentially you are not using your legs to run forward but simply lifting them and placing them down again to stop you from falling over forwards. It is a weird kind of feeling!!!

    I am not sure what to do when running downhill!!! If you do this while on a downhill slope you will surely fall down!!.

    There are lots of videos about this on Youtube -- when practicing this I form a picture in my mind that I am running into a strong headwind and I have to lean into the wind to overcome it -- trying to imagine that I am leaning forwards from my ankles is a bit hard for me to keep up, although I can do it at the very start of a run. The Chi Running man recommends that , for practice, we do it for short periods ( say 1 minute) and then stop doing it, over and over again - to get the feeling into our brains about how it feels to be leaning and when not leaning.

    EDIT - I have just found this website goodformrunning.com/ which covers the basics of Chirunning -- without all the new age Tai Chi stuff!! :) Haven;t looked too closely at it at the moment but the people over at Reddit/running recommended it - looks good.

  • I watched a couple of videos but didn't see anything about this standing on one leg exercise, it sounds really clear. Thanks Bazza, I'm going to give that a go xx

  • I tried it in the house, it makes sense but feels a bit like "The ministry of silly walks"...

  • I know what you mean. I think that I basically do this anyway - I certainly don't land on my heels when I run and I can definitely feel myself "speed up" when I lean forwards while running - but it does kind of feel unnatural to me.

  • I'll give it a go next time I'm running and let you know. I naturally heel strike with a long slow pace, so maybe it might be better for me.

  • A very long time ago I read a sci-fi novel which had someone learning to fly with the explanation something along the lines that falling over is flying interrupted by putting your foot down.

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