One of the beautiful things about Chi Running is that you can practise the focusses in every day life, and indeed whilst walking. I have taken the last few weeks to focus on elements of my running form whilst walking. After all, if you can’t do something walking, you’re not going to be able to do it running.
So I kept my minimal trainers on my feet and used them to help me feel the ground under me. The totally relaxed ankles and light ‘peeling your feet’ off the ground without any push off at all was one of my focusses. The walking pace really gave me a chance to concentrate on this, and to notice any differences between left and right feet. I walk on footpaths, so studying my footprints also gave me a great opportunity to get instant feedback on body symmetry, heel striking, pushing off etc.
Also, just being in the great outdoors has helped me relax and be glad for what I can do with my body. One of the great things about recovering from an operation is that your body gets stronger and stronger quickly (as long as you listen carefully to your body, and don’t push things!).
There is another fundamental of Chi Running that also applies to me – that of gradual progress. I have been able to build up from walking on the flat for 5 minutes very slowly at a speed that was far too slow for my 7 year old daughter. That has been built up slowly to being able to walk longer distances and also being able to walk at normal speed again without being in pain. My next step is to introduce a short running section to the middle of my walks. This will be in gear 1 on the flat. I will be able to apply the technique improvements focussed on in my walking to my running technique. After that? Once I’m back running I’m going to be very careful how I built up my running distance again. I do, however, have plans to run a 40 mile ultra marathon before the end of 2014 (if listening to my body and following the principle of gradual progress allows).