Use gravity

First, Kudos to TJ for running a 5:15 paced mile a couple of days ago.  Wow, that is amazing and he has been running less than a year.  He is really moving forward with his running.  Ah to be young again…

I have had some issues getting back to running which actually suprise me a bit.  I always have some pain becuase of my running, but not during my runs.  In fact, my back was really bad before the half marathon, but only when I wasn’t running.  While I was in my run, it never hurt.  Strange, I know.  Now, the second day back running 3 miles again, I have had two days with muscles pulling during my run that actually slow me down.  Yesterday, I thought I might have to stop during my run, but I got through it.  Another strange thing is now it is the opposite.  I hurt during my run and not after.  In fact, I have been running my first mile really slow, and my others at a faster pace, but still rather slow for me so I don’t think it is because of my warm up.

Half way through my run as I was starting to hurt, I remembered some things I used to practice that I had forgotten about.  To begin with, as soon as I hurt, I told myself to relax.  I let my shoulders down, I made my arms loose.  I even relaxed my jaw and forehead.  I relaxed my whole body, including my legs.  My feet started almost flopping on the ground as they hit.  After about a quarter mile of doing this, the pain went away and I was better.

It was then I had a flashback to the half marathon.  I was about 8 miles in (which was the hardest part for me because of some big hills) and a local runners club was on the side with signs and yelling encouragement to us as we went by.  One thing I heard and remember was, “use gravity”.  Oh yeah, I thought to myself, I need to use gravity.  I had practiced that a bit, but had forgotten during the race.  The idea comes (or at least I first heard of it) from Chi Running.  Although I bought a book about it, I admit I haven’t read it.  I have done Internet research on it though.  The main idea is to run tall and balanced and lean forward at your ankles allowing you to be in a controlled fall as you run.  Then as you move your foot under you to “catch” your fall, you move forward.  Basically using gravity to propel you rather than energy.  This makes running not only easier, but also prevents injuries since you are not using as much effort and putting strain on your muscles.  There is a lot more involved, but this is a quick summery of what I learned.  The main website is at www.chirunning.com, but you can search the net and get a lot of info from a lot of people about it.  I consider this the reason I have gone a year and only missed 2 planned running days from injury.  That says a lot coming from the out of shape old man that I was a year ago.

That is it for today.  My run today is going to be 3 miles.  It is to be warmer and the winds should be less than 20 mph that they have been the past two days. I am looking forward to that.

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