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Chi Running 13.1 miles

by Tyler Hurst » on Jan 10, 2011 4

In less than a week from now, I will have finished my fifth half marathon, and my third in Five Finger Sprints. I will have hopefully set a P.R. as well, because it’s damn well time I get faster.

I’m sure I will be tired, a bit wobbly and sore in the places that only golf balls can fix. This will be my first attempt at a race since my battle with ITBS, which cut my preparation time short by a month, making me change what was originally going to be my first marathon into my fifth half. Oh well. I learned a bunch this time, and I’m eager to put those into use.

Don't tell me that's not stylish.

Chi Running has been extremely useful to me. While I make no claim that I’ve mastered the techniques and likely never will, they’ve made me rethink my style and have provided me with improvements to my existing form.

1. Always lean forward
I haven’t quite mastered the forward lean with the level pelvis, I’m getting better. Lots of situps and less fat around my belly will help level my pelvis, but just attempting makes it far easier to run. No more grabbing and pulling, more gliding and slightly shuffling.

2. Lower legs loose
By far the toughest part. I’m supposed to turn my toes straight, land on my midfoot and have a short stride all while not flexing anything below my knees? Um, yeah. You try it and let me know how sore your calves are afterward. I’m getting better now and my calves are no longer tight after a run.

3. Midfoot, flat strike
I still have slight pronation that I’ve able to lessen by strengthening my ankles and quickening my stride, but it’s still there. Goose stepping while shaking my feet out and then shifting forward, moving my hips in front of my feet in two strides, helps me to re-feel the sensation.

4. Run slower
I had this problem a bit in LA and certainly on my first few training runs here. Quick feet made me want to lean forward and run faster, but I always paid the price. I’m almost at the light stage of learning the foot strike, so I’ll wait until my feet are quick and light before I go faster.

5. Listen to your body
I have sports-induced asthma and think it makes me more badass if I run without shooting up. Kidding, it feels like cheating. Seriously. Anyway, when I do inhale a bit before I take off my chest relaxes considerably and I’m able to take full breaths, making running many miles much easier. I hate to do it, but I need to.

Less than a week until my third half marathon in Five Fingers. Wearing injinji Toesocks
for the first time. Any tips?


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  2. Laura H

    January 11th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Good for you! As for turning your toes in to keep them straight, actually, you want to turn your WHOLE leg inward (if you pronate) at the hip. This serves several purposes: it allows you to relax your lower legs (which helps keep them loose), it strengthens your adductors, and if you have any tightness in the piriformis muscle, it releases that. So don’t just turn your toes in – you can’t relax your lower legs that way!

    The lean is pretty subtle – think of the lean a unicycler uses to allow gravity to pull them forward! And make sure it’s coming from your ankles and not your waist.

    It might be helpful to find a Chi Running instructor in your area to give you some feedback on your form. If you look at the Chi Running web page under workshops, there are instructors listed all over the world. We all get lots of good training and the Chi Living folks keep us up to date on the latest in teaching!

    Good luck on your half!


    • Tyler Hurst

      January 11th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Yeah, I am having serious trouble turning my legs in, because when I do that, my knee turns too far inward. Sigh.


  3. Laura H

    January 13th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Back off a little from the turning in and see if that helps. Think in terms of gradual progress – if your knees are going too far inwards, you might be over-trying. If you can get someone to video tape you running away and to the camera, that will help you identify what you are doing, and need to do.


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