Monday, January 25, 2016

Chi Running for Chronic Foot Pain

Are you training for an upcoming race or can't run as long as you want? Is your foot and ankle hurting you after just a few miles? If this is the case then you may consider taking a look at your running style and posture.

Over the past four years I have personally used this running technique rooted in Tai Chi which has helped me avoid foot pain and allowed me to run longer distances. 

ChiRunning focuses on posture, leg swing, the position of the pelvis and a forward lean. Here are the basics:

Run Tall.  When you're standing straight, your joints are in alignment and your skeleton is supporting your weight. When you run, you want to keep this alignment so your skeleton continues to be involved.
It's common, however, for runners to slump the shoulders or bend at the waist, which then requires the leg muscles to support most of the body weight, instead of the stronger skeleton. By maintaining good posture, you lessen the amount of work your legs have to do and move more efficiently.

Lean Forward.  By adding a slight forward lean when you run, your body falls forward and you use gravity for your propulsion instead of your legs. This lean also helps keep your body in alignment, with your foot landing under you.
To do this, lean from your ankles, not your waist, and keep your spine straight. The lean is subtle; don't lean so far forward you are out of control or actually falling.

Land on the Mid-Foot. To keep your posture in alignment--which helps reduce injuries--while you're leaning forward, land with a mid-foot strike when you run. You want your foot to land underneath or slightly behind you, in line with your hips and shoulders.

Run from Your Core. To reduce injuries, it's vital to keep your pelvis level. You do this by engaging your core muscles while you run.To level your pelvis, try this simple exercise: Stand against the wall and try to press your lower back into the wall. Watch what happens to your pelvis. You have to engage your lower abdominal muscles in a vertical crunch movement. Remember that feeling in your body and try to maintain it as you run.

Relax, Relax, Relax. It's common for runners to tighten up their shoulders or other muscles as they get tired. But all that stiffness and tension wastes energy and makes you less efficient. When you feel your technique slipping, ask yourself: Where am I tense, and what can I do about it?
Sense and respond with the correct adjustments, which might be as simple as straightening your arms and shaking them out or reminding yourself to lower your shoulders. In my book, I recommend a series of pre-run body looseners--such as shaking out your arms and legs, ankle rolls and hip and pelvis circles--to help your muscles learn to stay relaxed when you are running and throughout the day.

Danny Dreyer has developed this running technique and if you have time purchase his book callled,
" ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running.


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