Saturday, October 08, 2005

Running

If you're into running, something that is definitely worth checking out is "Chi Running," a book by Danny Dreyer (an ultra-marathoner). The basics of the method are described here.

I've been running more regularly lately. Several weeks ago, I tried to run this 5.3 mile route that is pretty hilly. Plus, it was about a mile further than I had been running at that point. I had to stop and walk in several places (especially the hills), and when I was through, I was so winded and tired that I could barely move another step. The next week, I got the Chi Running book in the mail, and then tried the same route the next weekend. I was able to run (well, jog) the entire 5.3 miles, and I didn't feel nearly as winded or tired at the end. I was stunned to see such instantaneous improvement.

Since then, I've been able to increase the mileage on my weekly long run. Today I ran 7.7 miles, and again, didn't feel particularly tired at the end. I wasn't even really out of breath. It wasn't very fast -- about 9 minutes for the first mile and 9:30 for the last. But just being able to cover the distance is a nice feeling.

In addition to my Saturday long run, I run twice during the week, typically 1.5 miles at a faster pace. Since taking up Chi Running, I've also been able to increase my speed on that run. This past Thursday, my 1.5-mile time was 10:23, or around 6:55 a mile. That's not anything particularly special, but it's fast for me.

The biggest thing that seems to have helped -- and this is discussed in much more detail in the book -- is learning to keep the calf muscles as relaxed as possible. Instead of taking each step as if you're hopping off your toes (thus putting a huge amount of stress on the calf), you keep your calf and toes relaxed and instead just pick up the leg with each step. I was skeptical at first -- and such a technique probably wouldn't work for sprinters -- but it really worked for me. You still end up being able to run from Point A to Point B (or vice versa, depending on personal preference), but it is much less work.

4 Comments:

Blogger Bill Baar said...

I'm drinking a beer while reading blogs.

Now I feel guilty.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Taumarunui said...

No need to feel guilty, I run so so I can drink beer and wine without much guilt. Doing the whole 26.2 at Columbus next Sunday. Beers will flow in great quantity afterwards.

Must look into this chi stuff, though. My form could do with reformstion.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Kate.Kingsley said...

I've just bought this book and am really looking forward to getting into the technique ~ I need all the help I can get, as I'm running a half marathon (my first!) in a few weeks.

Glad to hear you found it such a help.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Kate.Kingsley said...

I've just bought this book and am really looking forward to getting into the technique ~ I need all the help I can get, as I'm running a half marathon (my first!) in a few weeks.

Glad to hear you found it such a help.

6:20 AM  

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