Danny and Katherine Dreyer, the developers of "ChiRunning" have written two books on the subject, one on running and the other on walking - choose whichever one appeals - they are really worth a read! The principles of Chi Running/Walking are borrowed from the ancient practice of T'ai Chi - and from my own lay perspective, the principles taught simply make a lot of sense!
Anyway, we were so intrigued that we sighed up for a Chi Running workshop in Seattle which turned out to be a great day. (Hey, the Pike Place Market really is a cool place to hang out!) Anyway, the workshop began with a focus on posture and learning how to allow the bones, ligaments, and tendons, which are inherently strong, to support our weight instead of the muscles - which are not always as reliable! In our age of computer related work and, therefore, often sedentary occupations, posture has become a bit of an issue. We all know that poor posture can lead to painful and unnecessary stress on joints. It can also limit movement - not much fun if you enjoy activities requiring movement! There were lots of tips, exercises and the workshop concluded with a group run where we attempted to put to practice what we had learned - not easy but worth sticking at!
One of the important lessons had to do with how our feet land - something to which I had never really given much thought. Most of us land on our heels and push off with our toes - just check normal shoe wear. We then wonder why we tire so soon or end up with sore muscles. After it was explained that landing our our heels is like "putting the brakes on" and pushing off with the toes (unless you're a sprinter) puts undue pressure on leg muscles, you really begin to understand why the "mid-foot" landing makes so much more sense. I did an experiment on a local beach and you can check out the results in the pics above. On the left, you can see heel landing and toe push off - clearly lots of energy going into digging up the sand. The pic on the right shows a mid-foot landing - pretty light on the feet, eh? That's why this way of running and walking promises better performance and fewer injuries. I rather like that idea!
Till the next time, from the beautiful Cowichan Valley, peace and balance.