Today I took the first half of a 4 hour workshop in Chi Running. If you are thinking, I though that was Tai Chi, you are pretty close. It is all about using the energy of the world to help you with your running rather than trying to work against it. If you are now thinking to yourself "What a bunch of crap," that is what I was thinking too. Especially as I stopped the progress I had made on my soon to be condemned by the health department house to go to this workshop.
We spent the first hour and a half mastering our "column". Yeah, I know, "that's what she said." Anyway, the idea is that you have to have your shoulders, hips and ankles all aligned in order to have proper running form. Since as my history of chronic injuries would demonstrate, I have no idea about proper form so I may as well give it a shot. I practiced and finally got a sort of sense of it.
From there we were partnered up to master the "lean". The idea is that gravity becomes our friend and we use it to propel us forward from the lean position. Basically, being in a slight lean forward we are working with gravity instead of constantly having to work against it. I actually got it. Next came the foot strike. I am a heavy heel striker which is why I have injuries I think. We learned how to land soft and on the midfoot. From there we roll the foot and then replace with the other foot. Heel and peel he called it. Actually "heel and peel, it's the real deal" which makes him sound like the real dork he was! However, I found myself searching for the proper landing.
By this time we had gone back and forth on the track a few times. It felt stiff and awkward, but I feel like it has potential. As long as I don't look like I'm trying to take flight with my forward lean I think I'll be ok.
My friend Melinda and I already made plans to meet up tomorrow after work and practice it some more while it is fresh in my head. I'm not sure if this is a technique I'll really go for in the long run, but for now, I'll take a walk or run as it may be with the chi master.