Posts Tagged ‘chi running’

Natural running and speedwork at the track

Friday, February 18th, 2011

At risk of being ostracized by the popular running community I’d like to add my two cents about the barefoot running/natural running phenomena. I have been an advocate of Chi Running for many years. I think the principals behind it are solid and I have run relatively injury free for years, much of which I attribute to adopting a Ch Running style. Since the barefoot running fad broke out with the publishing of Born To Run, its theories have been adopted by Danny Dreyer, author of Chi Running. While I really enjoyed Born to Run, I wasn’t swayed to try it until Dreyer embraced it. With his endorsement I have thought more and more about it. I have figured I wouldn’t be able to do it because of the heal lift I wear to offset my shorter right leg. The barefoot folks says we should base out stance on our natural stance by not wearing any sort of orthotics whether they be in the base of running shoes or additional devices. I believe my leg correcting lift is necessary to make sure my spine is properly aligned. Doctors convinced me at an early age that I needed to keep my spine properly aligned in order to avoid back issues both in my youth and especially into old age. So barefoot running seemed like it wouldn’t be for me, Vibram Five-Fingers also seemed interesting but I had my doubts about whether they would work with my lift (they are really low on the ankle and my lift made this an even larger potential issue). So I was really interested to hear about the concept of Natural Running and this book.

So I got the book from the library and have been reading it. The author feels that barefoot running is best, but that there are pitfalls to running without protection on the feet: rocks, hot or cold pavement, glass etc. He thinks that shoes are ok to wear as long as you do a mid or forefoot strike rather than a heal strike. He says most running shoes build up the heal to such an extent that it is hard to do the fore or mid strike. He says the elevated heal causes most runners to hit the heal first (which brakes you) before rolling to the ball of your foot. My heal lift in the one side makes this even more of an issue. But despite that I have been striving for a mid-strike for years since reading about Chi Running and I think I do a pretty good job of it.

When I first started to run on the dirt roads on Pendleton, OR I was told that I should rock my foot on each step. Land on the heal and roll my step through to the lift off on the toes. At first it took so getting used to landing on the mid portion of the foot. It was good to read scientific basis for what I have been doing for years.

The book had a number of exercises to help the reader develop this mid-strike. Most of them were based on balance (so far anyway) and this is an area I could use a lot of work on. Between the shorter (and smaller) right leg and the ms, I have my issues with balance. I have been working on this and probably overdoing it as my ankles have been sore as well as my knees. I think I will back off on doing the balance stuff a bit and try to more slowly incorporate the work into my workouts. I do think better balance will have large benefits for strengthening my core and therefor bettering my running. Not sure what is happening with my knees, I rarely have issues in that area. It could also have something to do with the new shoes.

Today, I went to the track to do some more straights and curves. The track was mostly empty so that was good for my multi-paced workout. My knees and ankle soreness didn’t seem to bother me, but I did slow down my sprinting in order to respect the potential injury. Seems to have done the trick. I also added on some miles to boost my weekly totals. Ended up doing a 2 mile warm up, 2 miles at the track and 4.5 mile cool down. Good run.

300 recovery day

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

This is the 300th post to this blog and I celebrated with a recovery run with the extra loop in the canyon. I did pretty well keeping my HR proper, only going over my 70% max when I came out of the canyon and up to the neighborhood. The canyon this morning was a lot less humid than the last couple days, I think the winds cleared it out a bit. My legs feel pretty good, no further pain except usual tiredness (maybe a bit more than usual…) Tonight = more foam rolling.

I signed up for the Pints to Pasta 2010 run today. Really don’t like paying the fees for online payment on activities, be it races, concerts, whatever. But I am lazy and want it now, so there you go.I am looking forward to running another race to cap off the summer.

So my big toe that I have been having splitting nail issues mad it self known the other night.  I thought the split part was healing, but I snagged it and ripped a chunk off of my toe. I bled all over the place. At first I was worried about  how it would feel on my next run, but it wasn’t going to stop me and it actually wasn’t bad at all. I used a salve called Oregon Cream II on the area and then a band-aid over the top, wrapped around my toe it stayed on for the run. It seems to be getting better as long as it doesn’t get infected I’ll be ok running this week and Pints to Pasta on 9.12.

My college buddy who I road tripped with last week is reading Chi Running which I sent him (and some sport beans and runners junk mail). He has been doing a few ten minute runs. He is pretty active so in good shape, but he says he feels new muscles. I’m glad he is getting into it. I am curious to hear more about how (and if) he employs “the way”!

Good recovery day!

Road trip sans running except…

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

So with my anticipated break due to work load in the past I decided to go on a road trip with my photographer buddy and that became my newest running block. We ended up doing some photo shoots in a wind farm and a tree farm and got some good shots (according to my buddy anyway.) Other than those short sprints I took a nice break from running for the past six days. The air quality has been really bad as there have been many forest fires in WA and OR so another good reason for not running.

Running breaks are really hard to do in some respects, I found myself really wanting to go out for a run. The rest was good even though much of it was in a car. We took numerous photo breaks which broke up the drive really well. We did get a short hike in so that was a nice break as well.

Today I ran for the first time in six days and just did a basic run, nothing special. Tomorrow we’ll do nine miles, probably up Thurman and the Leif Erickson trail. So a good return back! Today’s six and a half miles came pretty easy but I am somewhat sore. I am going to do some stretching tonight and maybe even some foam roller.

There was an additional running moment on my trip. We managed to drive several dirt roads north of Pendleton and managed to find the old pig farm I used to spend my summers at. It was here I got my start at running when I was 13 or so. I used to run up the dirt road to the top of the  rolling hill and then I would run down back to the house, maybe a full mile. I remember my friend’s dad having me rolling my foot form heal to toe and while I try to be as flat footed in my foot strike as I can, I still think about this and apply some of those stride patterns today. It was awesome seeing the old place and even though it has changed a lot since I was last there 28 years ago, it still felt like home a bit. Good ole Hog Flats, OR.