Chi Running Lesson 7 is about what you should do with your upper body, your arms in particular. I mentioned when I wrote about Lesson 5 that it seemed that my upper body was also rotating around the pivot point (T12 – L1 – Hut Hut). Lesson 7 had me practice keeping it focused forward and swinging my arms to the rear.
Balance is a key tenet of Chi Running. As your column falls forward (leveraging gravity) and your legs swing out the rear (leveraging the force of the road), the arm swing to the back acts as another force going in the opposite direction of the body, or another form of balance. Gotta love physics!
I had to think about what I was currently doing with my arms, and the answer came back, “pretty much nothing.” I keep my arms bent at the elbows, close to my sides, with hands relaxed. Granted, it took me a long time to unclench the fists, but that was well before I started practicing Chi Running. So I had to make a conscious effort to do something with my arms – keep them in the same position but swing them to the rear.
I did the lesson as the authors intended – for the most part. My course for the day was a 10K. I ran the first ten minutes focusing solely on swinging my arms to the rear. It was a little awkward but I got used to it. The next ten minutes, I added a focus on the pelvic rotation. Check. The next 10 minutes I attempted to add the lean.
Here’s where it got tricky. There was a fairly strong wind from the south, and it seemed like when I was running against the wind, nothing worked right. I’d lean and the wind would push me back. I felt my legs tense from the glutes all the way down to the big toes. When I was running against the wind, it was all I could do to focus on keeping my legs relaxed. The wind was a force I hadn’t expected - and a force to be reckoned with.
I came back from the 6.25 miles a little sorer than I would have liked. My right foot was especially sore. Ouch. Did I re-injure it? Or is it just not strong enough to withstand the pounding on the long runs?