Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Continuing on with my quest for improvement in running, I came across the ChiRunning method mentioned in my last post. I was anxious to try the method, so Monday after work took a small run at the park along the river. (We are very fortunate to have several sets of trails along the river, which is the focal point of our city.) It was a particularly mild and beautiful evening, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I set out from one end of the park with the plan to run at least half way and back again (3 total miles), implementing the Chi method. Whew! After about 4 minutes I was totally winded. Okay, walk a minute and refocus. This time it lasted about 6 minutes, and then walk 2. I didn't really know why I was so winded but felt I must be running faster than usual by using this method. Come to find out, after rereading one of the chapters: "Setting up your running form properly is the first and most important step in ChiRunning. In the beginning, you will use more core muscle effort than you're used to." Well, no doubt! I spent 27 minutes out there, and while I was able to start and stop without effort, the run part was leaving me winded after only a few minutes. By the middle of the run, another runner passed me, looking somewhat like my old form. I was a little dismayed that I wasn't able to keep a constant pace. Even so, by the end of my run, I was very close to catching up with the other runner, and while I had stopped twice, she had not stopped at all. So that told me that my running pace was much faster than usual, with less effort (other than being winded). I am looking forward to my next run (tonight).
Another quote from the book that any one of us can use for any aspect of our training:
"Start simple. Remember the principles of Gradual Progress: The best things take patience and perserverance. . . . don't try to take on too much at first. Go slowly and celebrate your small successes. Do only as much as you can do well, and don't worry about the rest--it'll come."
That pretty much sums it up for all of our training. Trying to go faster all the time usually ends up in injury. Hurrying through workouts and trying to take on too much distance at one time also leads to injury. Then you are taking steps backward instead of forward steps of progress.
So much to always learn! As long as you keep your mind open, you never stop learning no matter your age.

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