ChiRunning Focuses

Really enjoyed running up to Granier yesterday. The ChiRunning technique is amazing and I was even able to accelerate for the final part of the climb. Despite this being only the 4th run in a space of  3 weeks the time of the overall run has reduced by over 17 minutes. Each time I think it will be hard to run as fast as the previous time but then it turns out to be much easier and faster. In “Chi (Running” Danny Dryer explains that by focusing on form you will progressively gain speed and distance – and this seems to be the case. I was focused all the way on good form and avoiding the use of inefficient force. The 10 mile course is toughest on the steep descent.

Went out on the bike and climbed the same path again today but the legs were dead. In fact I felt fine and worked hard but impossible to raise either heart rate or speed even though the perceived effort level remained high.

1. The main focus was on cadence and keeping it constant – around 180 strides per minute. Muscle/tendon system efficiency is enhanced at this cadence so it’s a key issue maintaining it 
2. When the gradient was steep that meant shortening the stride and when not so steep, lengthening it to gain speed. 
3. Next on the list was the foot strike – never ahead of the body and always slightly on the outside of the forefoot or midfoot. 
4. Orientating the ankle correctly so that the foot strike was accurate and there was no unnecessary loading up of the calves when climbing or heel striking when descending.
5. Careful carrying of the centre of mass just ahead of the foot strike to ensure that there was no braking effect.
6. Avoiding bending the upper body forwards from the hips so that the straighter body would allow a better extension of the glutes. Tilting from the ankles alone.
7. Active twist around the spine to load up the tendons and use them in the recovery of the leg and foot from behind.
8. Maintaining good posture with the pelvis held up at the front with the lower abdomen and the natural lordosis of the spine still present and helping to extend and open the stride behind.
9. Avoiding lifting up the knee on recovery – lifting the foot high and keeping the knee low for maximum efficiency.
10. Landing with one foot directly in front of the other and feet pointing ahead.
11. Using the feet muscles actively – stretching the ball of the foot downwards to prevent excessive pronation.
12. Avoiding any push off with the lower leg muscles at the end of the stride – picking up feet only.
13. Extending with the glutes and the unwinding of the spine to gain height.
14. Using the arms to assist the recovery and unwinding of the spine by pushing the elbows backwards.
15. Breathing low in the belly and through the nose when possible.
16. Lengthening the stride on descending – pushing the arms back harder to aid the leg recovery.
17. Keeping the knees slightly bent and looking for a soft foot strike while trying to keep up speed on the descent. (Avoiding heel strike)
18. Staying relaxed at the hips – especially during the descent where it is easy to tense up defensively.
19. Ensuring that accelerations even uphill are based on relaxation and not force.
20. Constantly returning to monitoring cadence and working through each other focus over and over.

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