#7 of 52: The Higher Purpose of the Long Run - Are You Up for It?

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Wed Oct 30th, 2013, 8 comments

#7 of 52: The Higher Purpose of the Long Run - Are You Up for It?

At the completion of a half marathon or marathon many people say, “I feel like I can do ANYTHING!!” What a great feeling, when you know that challenges can be overcome and that you are capable of great things.

With ChiRunning®, when you focus on running well consistently over the span of months or years, you not only build aerobic, cardiovascular and core muscle strength, you build the strong fiber of an intangible inner strength, an emotional/psychological core strength that carries into how you approach your whole life.

The long run is your longest weekly run – a crucial element in any running program.

It also happens that the weekly long run, when approached mindfully, can help you build the substance, the wherewithal, to help you approach and build the life you want to live.

If you’re a beginning runner, your weekly long run might be anything from a mile to a 5K. If you’re a marathoner, it might be a 10K to 20+ miles. It’s different for everyone.

Physically, the long run develops aerobic capacity by building more extensive capillary beds in your lungs and muscles, giving you better oxygen uptake while running. Yes, it does that, but the intangible benefits from running long can be even more important. The weekly long run is where you build duration, the ability to sustain mental attention by practicing mind/body focusing consistently over an extended period of time

Duration, in ChiRunning terms, means being in the present, moment-by-moment, listening to and responding to your body; a skill we could all use in our running as well as in our everyday lives. When I think of duration, worlds like patience, persistence and consistency come up… intangible attributes that improve the quality of your life.

Your weekly long run can expand your concept of your self. With ChiRunning, the long run is not about efforting and pushing and sweating for longer and longer periods of time. It’s about learning to focus and relax…to simply feel the joy of moving. The weekly long run is where you can surprise yourself with how enjoyable a 5K or 10K or even a marathon can be.

As I started out on my weekly long run yesterday at a local trailhead, I didn’t know how far, or even where, I was headed. I knew I had a couple of hours, but beyond that there was no plan. What I did know was that I was going to work on nose-breathing, being light on my feet, keeping my perceived rate of exertion steady and my relaxation level high, regardless of whether I was running uphill, downhill or on level ground. Another thing I knew was that I had all the time in the world to practice my list of focuses; assuring me, even before taking my first step, that it was going to be a successful run. Knowing that I had lots of time left me with a nice sense of relaxed anticipation. I felt like I was back in school, heading into study hall…but in a really positive way.

Duration, holding an intention and focus over a long period of time, creates an inner substance that cannot be created in any other way. Short, quick learning does not necessarily engender depth or wisdom. When you add in the factor of time, the results are on a completely different level. The longer you practice something, the deeper it affects you and the more you begin to learn it, experiencing it from the inside out.

Feel the difference practice over time makes. When done mindfully and well, it can expand your concept and understanding of self. It builds inner strength, decisiveness, willpower; all skills that can take you wherever you want to go.

8 CommentsLeave a comment below

Richard M. Osgood Nov 3rd, 2013 06:42pm

I am a 76-year-old runner who has been running for over 40 years. Chronic back pain which came on after a bout of knee trouble when I had orthotics fitted for my running shoes continued for 30 years. Then a therapeutic massage thera[ist told me about Chi Running. I went to the site and ordered the book, dvd and a metronome. They arrived this past Tuesday. I began earnestly reading and listening to anything I couyld about Chi Running and began practicing the new technique. It felt akward but i kep trying and trying, reading and reading. After eight straight days of short runs 1 and a 1/2 to 2 1/2 miles I ran my first pace using the Chi tecnique today. I told myself yo forget my time, just concentrate on the many facets of the technique. I finished the race in 53:34. The time, of course, was not great but I was happy that I did my best keeping my cadence and thinking about my column, leaning, my pelvis and midfoot strike and more. I was happy. Another 70 year old who I generally beat wondered why I didn’t catch him and why did he beat me by five minutes I simply shrugged and said I’m trying something new. Hopefully, I added, I’ll beat you again in a race this coming spring. Easy does it is my new motto.I’m sure my time will improve despite my age as long as i continue the Chi technique. I was having some trouble with the nose breathing today but I’m sure I’ll get it down. Thanks Chi friends.

Sloane Dugan Nov 4th, 2013 11:23am

Danny, thanks for this blog on “duration” and the higher purposefulness of a long run.  It is quite timely.  You describe quite clearly my experience walking the 800+ km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain in September and October.  A primary purpose for this pilgrimage was to engage in walking meditation during each day’s 20 km walking.  Some of the qualities that may emerge from the longest run you describe—patience, consistency, persistence—and other qualities—focus, being grounded, flow of ‘stuff’ between consciousness and unconsciousness, and connection with all those other “members of the Camino tribe” who have walked this path too over the past millennium.  All emerging on the Way through the perspective and training presented by ChiLiving. Quite Amazing.  Your blog has helped me continue to make sense of this walking pilgrimage experience.

Marty Roddy Nov 4th, 2013 05:06pm

I love this line,
  ”  the long run is not about efforting and pushing and sweating for longer and longer periods of time. It’s about learning to focus and relax…to simply feel the joy of moving

As a big runner (once a good football player) now a guy having fun running- Long runs and races are sightseeing at worst and medittaion at best…

Kerri Merrill Nov 4th, 2013 08:26pm

I absolutely ADORE Chi Running! I tell everyone I possibly can all about it.  When I read comments o
n running sites from people wondering how to run easier, without injury, without pain etc. I always respond the same way: check out Chi Running! Chi Running has changed my life! I feel so great about my running,  it makes my life better!! I did my first half marathon in April. (after only running just under a year) and finished in 2:06!! The entire time I was running I kept thinking “I am so prepared for this”! My PR FOR A 5k is 25:58! I’m 43, and never ran a day in my life until Chi Running!! In fact, I said I would NEVER run! I didn’t like it, I couldn’t do it!
Thank you DANNY AND KATHERINE, from the bottom of my heart !

Melissa Oltman Nov 4th, 2013 10:55pm

I’m 53 WITHOUT the benefit of decades of running before. In fact, I never had any DESIRE to run until about 6 weeks ago when I WALKED, with no training, a 5K with my new coworkers. I was hooked! So I got the Couch to 5K program and…on the 3rd day out, I strained the medial ligaments of both knees and had my first ever “sports injury”. I was so disappointed! But I still had the dream of finally being able to run, so I bought the book “Chi Running”, the DVD and the metronome.  I started out walking, and have been focusing on my posture at work, in the grocery store, all the time.

Tonight I was able to SLOWLY RUN, for the first time in my life, 2.94 miles. It was slow, but my pelvis was level, my hips were rotating, my feet were landing midfoot, and my column was (most of the time) aligned.

You can’t even imagine how exciting that is for me. I CAN RUN! My goal is to build my cardiovascular strength and my practice to the point that I can take a workshop in the spring. I will have to travel to get to one, but I don’t care. These techniques have, no kidding, changed my life!

J.A. Wattendorff Nov 5th, 2013 04:49pm

I am a 46 year old woman and am so incredibly grateful for Chi Running. It’s the best thing I have learned since learning to drive a car.
I began following the lessons from the Chi Running book early this year. (I had decided to try it since in the previous two years I had been having recurrent calf injuries - muscle tears maybe, which made it impossible to run for weeks each time.) Even slight improvements in posture made so much difference right away, that I felt confident enough to register for a Half Marathon in May. Before that, the longest race I had ever done was a 5K. In the mean time, thanks to Chi Running, I shortened my PR’s in 5K races by about a minute. The long runs I did while training for the Half Marathon were a terrific opportunity to practice the Chi focuses. I wasn’t sure if I was doing everything right, but during this training I never had any calf injuries or even knee or hip soreness (like I had had before, especially after hilly runs). In May, I ran my first Half Marathon ever in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Since then, using the Chi Running focuses, I have improved my technique still more. My PR in local 5K races has continued to go down steadily over the year. Some things took me quite a long time to grasp, for instance what exactly was meant by pelvic rotation. Also, I had to overcome a lot of inner resistance before I was willing to try running with a metronome. Now, I hardly ever go on a training run without.
I am also grateful for the many tips that can be found in Danny’s blogs, and for the core exercises demonstrated by Danny on You Tube. One very helpful blog was the one about improving your posture and feeling pelvic rotation by carrying a surfboard or chair on your head (or, in my case, imagining carrying a basket of fruit or something like that, on my head…) You are a fantastic teacher! Thank you!
A very welcome side effect of all the running that I have been able to do since I started with Chi Running is that I have reached my weight loss goal (which before Chi Running, I had been trying to reach in vain for four years.)

Bubblegum Casting Nov 12th, 2013 04:32pm

Love this blog! had to share with my friends

In Danny’s blog about the long run, his words: “Keeping the perceived rate of exertion steady and relaxation level high, regardless of running uphill, downhill or on level ground.“ helped me complete my 1st Marathon Sunday November 17, 2013 at the Philadelphia Marathon. Before last Sunday my longest run was 14 miles, after that I could run no further.  My training routes are hilly and I realized that I was pushing myself up hills to maintain my pace, this was wearing me out.
I only had one tapper run remaining before the marathon, and that was for 10 miles. During this last long run I worked on keeping my PRE steady going uphill, and I finished strong and convinced that I could at least run at least twice that far. I then knew I had a chance to finish my 1st marathon.   
On Marathon Sunday I finished the Philadelphia Marathon in 5:11 minutes. Without my CHI Running training I don’t think I could have finished.  This was off my regular pace but I took it easy to increase my chances of finishing, I will go for a BP on my next Marathon.
Thanks Danny!!

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