Leaning vs Bending

So, I just got to the part of the Chi Running book that says “Form before Distance before Speed” last night. Which means that I went ahead and did a tempo run yesterday at noon, trying to apply the principles I learned in a crash course.

I started out slowly, because I can’t start fast, but noticed I was running with less effort than I usually do. So, feeling good, I decided to pick it up. Pretty soon I was in a world of hurt, trying hard to hang on to the basic Chi Running principles: lean forward, land on my midfoot, pick up my legs, relax my arms.

It was very hard to do this while trying to run at a decent (7:30) clip, I started feeling like I was working way too hard. But one thing I did figure out was that instead of leaning I was bending at the waist. The way I figured out how to ‘lean’ correctly was to focus on bringing my pelvis forward instead of my chest. When I did that, I literally felt like someone had stepped on the gas. Of course, I was still not exactly loping along — right now that pace is hard for me to keep — but it did feel like the start of a good thing.

While I like to run fast, I don’t like doing so in pain. That was what drove me in the direction of easier running in the first place. Fortunately for me the whole Chi Running approach advocates ‘form intervals’, where I focus on one specific aspect of form for one minute, then take a 1 minute breather.

I don’t have anything major planned for the winter months other than just getting outside and enjoying movement, so this is the perfect time to work on form. Then I want to build up the amount of time I can hold that form, and when I’ve got it down, I want to try to go faster. It’s a different approach than my usual he man suffer fest.

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