Friday, November 9, 2012

Chi Running

I've hit what runners call a “plateau.”  I had been gradually increasing my distance while I was running at Hoop Lake, topping out at seven miles.  I thought that continuing this path would work just as well “down the mountain” but I've found that I can’t run any further than seven miles without my feet hurting.

I land on the balls of my feet.  I have since I started running again in my forties.  It just felt right.  This is probably a fallback from my “ballerina-wanna-be” days.  The good news – my knees are just fine.  The bad news – at about mile 6 the balls of my feet just ache and the muscles on the inside of my big toes hurt.  Weird.

This is not good.  I really want to run the Salt Lake half marathon next April, but as of now I can’t even run half a half marathon without pain in my feet.  What am I doing wrong?

Several months ago I read an article about a 70-year-old woman who was running ultra-marathons using a technique called Chi Running.  Chi Running utilizes your core muscles and leverages the laws of physics to make running more efficient and injury-free.  And while my problem may be as simple as needing to replace my two-year-old running shoes (I’ll do this anyway), the idea of a better running technique is intriguing.

So I got a copy of Chi Running by Danny and Katherine Dreyer.  I’m about halfway through the book and am ready to start incorporating their techniques into my running.  The authors recommend a gradual approach to learning the technique and have laid out ten lessons which they encourage both beginning and experienced runners to do sequentially.  So starting next week, I’ll start the lessons and log my progress.  May the chi be with me.

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