First weekend of the New Year, I spent some time on improving my running dynamics. More specifically, I took a Chi Running workshop on Saturday morning. I thought about this class since December while I took my hiatus break. I was increasingly anxious about my half marathon in April thinking what was the one thing I could do that would calm me down?
I came to this Chi Running website and looked on Youtube/Web for more information. It made sense to me especially injury prevention part. I wanted to enjoy the training as well as the actual race. I didn’t want to “push though” anything. I understood some “ache” was acceptable, but not pain/injury. I checked the weather forecast (I hate the cold!) and it was sunny and decent on Saturday. So, I reserved the class.
I was glad that I did. For one, Chi Running’s principle made running feel easy. The essential principle was to let gravity do the work as I learned to LEAN (tilt) into the ground. I stopped fighting the ground. It felt really strange in the beginning. I kept telling the instructor that I felt like a “duck” because I felt I was sticking out my rear. In reality, I was not (he filmed it). The adjusted posture felt funny since previously I was not engaging the right muscle (core) and aligning correctly (shoulder, hip, and ankle).
The class was very informative as the instructor did the “before” and “after” video. I also felt the difference with ease. That same day, I felt relieved from my anxiety about the half marathon. And I sat down and plotted out my training plan for the race. I thought: If I continued with good form, I should be okay by the time of the race in April.
Well, life is simple but not easy. I took my new “Chi Running self” on an easy run on Sunday afternoon. Only goal I set was “Easy 3 miles in the New form”. Well, a big part of Chi Running is cadence, which is the measurement of number of strides per minute. Per Chi Running, the ideal range is 172-180 strides per minute. The idea was to keep the rate the same and at this level, the form would less likely to suffer. Armed with a metronome, ticking at 180 s/m, I set out running.
Within first half mile, I felt out of breathe! 180 cadence felt really fast for me. I felt like a having 4 legs at one point! I had to re-group almost every half mile to check on my form and as well as took a break. The entire time, I kept thinking about the tilt, the alignment, and the cadence. It was by far the least “relaxing” run in a while. I felt like I was back in March 2013 with my first run. Only back then, I was thinking “one foot in front of another” and “just one more minute”.
All “complaining” aside, first of all, the out-of-breathe probably came from going at the high cadence first run out of the gate. I planned to adjust down to 172 next time. Secondly, I woke up sore. That was not surprising given that i took a hiatus and also I was trying something new. However, I was surprised that I was mostly sore on my gluts and ab. It showed that I was probably doing something right. The idea of Chi Running was to engage bigger muscle (ab mostly) thereby reducing using the smaller leg muscle and avoid injury that way.
All in all, I was pleased with shifting my focus to running dynamics (quality) and not to fret about the race. If I kept working on this, naturally, good (enjoyable) running would follow in time.