Mindful Chi Running
To run without injury, take a lesson from the Far East. Get focused, loosen up - and get out there.
Step 4: Relax Your Muscles
Tight muscles can't get the oxygen they need. The cure is easy:
Just relax! Don't take yourself so seriously. Drop your shoulders. Smile. Relax
your glutes. Float like a butterfly... lighten up, says Dreyer.
When muscles are loose and relaxed, the oxygen carried in your
blood can enter the muscle cells much more easily than if your muscles are
tense. Keep telling your muscles, "Softer is better!"
Step 5: Practice Good Posture
Having good running posture is the cornerstone of ChiRunning.
When your posture is correct, energy or chi flows through your body unhindered,
Your aligned body has a centerline that runs from head to foot.
It is the "steel" that supports your body, which allows your arms and
legs to relax. Running with your posture out of alignment creates tension and
Stand in front of a mirror. Straighten your upper body. Then
look down at your feet. If you can see your shoelaces, it's a good bet that
your dots are connected in a straight line - perfect. Memorize how this feels.
Step 6: Start Slow
When you begin to run, take it gradually, says Dreyer.
"Practice your posture. Really memorize what it feels like to have good
posture. Feel yourself standing in straight line. Practice alternating do on
one foot, then switch. Shift weight back and forth. Feel yourself keeping
posture line straight while on one foot a time."
Then, it's time for a little jog. Connect with your posture.
Feel your feet down at the bottom of your posture line. Start to jog slowly.
When one foot hits the ground, feel it hitting at bottom of your posture line.
Practice moving from one foot to the next, taking baby steps."
"Speed is not a factor here," Dreyer says. "That's
the very last thing you should think about. You're working on form -- holding
it little bit longer each time. Stretch that over a block, two blocks, three
blocks. That's building distance, until you can hold your form over
It's True: Mind Over Matter Works
Sports physiologists have long known that "there's a huge
connection between self-talk and running," says Tom Holland, MS, exercise
physiologist, sports performance coach, and lecturer for the American Running
Whether you call it ChiRunning, or mindful running, the
research is clear. "Studies show that when athletes dissociate, when they
wear a walkman when they run, they don't do as well," Holland tells WebMD.
"Many runners want to think of anything but the running. But our thoughts
literally change our physiologic reactions. Our thoughts are performance cues.
When you do positive self-talk, you do fine."
When you begin to run, take it slow, he says. "Get outside
the door. Set short term and long term goals. Plan to run, but take walking
breaks. We're debunking the myth that walking is bad. The goal is to get
somewhere with the least effort."