Create Balance in Your Running and Walking Form

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Fri Sep 11th, 2009, No comments (be the first!)

The best way to get really efficient at both distance running and distance walking is to take advice from the best the East and the West have to offer. Chi Running and Chi Walking are both based on sound physics combined with the principles of physical movement found in T'ai Chi.

Any physicist will tell you that in order to get a machine to run more efficiently, all the moving parts need to be balanced in their movement. If the pressure in one of your tires is lower than the other three, you'll feel the car pulling to side.

To get into balance, closely watch yourself and sense the subtle differences in your body. First of all, when you follow the steps to creating good posture you want to make sure both the left and right sides of your body are symmetrical:

  •      Your legs should be aligned so that both your feet point forward
  •      Your shoulders should be level, rather than one higher than the other
  •     Your shoulders should not be rounded forward or pinned back
  •      Your head should not be tilting to one side or the other and it should not be too far forward or too far back


When you run, create balance in your movement by Body Sensing the following:

  •      Both arms should have the same amount of bend at the elbows
  •      Both knees should bend the same amount so that your heels swing up evenly at the end of your stride
  •      Both hands should be relaxed, with fingers curled gently
  •      As you increase your forward lean, your legs should swing further behind you
  •      Whenever your arm swing increases, your leg swing should increase as well
  •      As you engage your core more, you need to relax your arms, legs, shoulders and hips more


Heck, your shoelaces should even be tied with the same tension in both feet. If one is too tight, you might run in circles.

Any imbalance in your movement makes one side have to compensate and work harder. When there is balance and symmetry, there is no impediment to your forward motion. You become like a straight arrow moving through space without the wobbles and distortions that pull you off target.
 
The idea of balance in motion is one of the main principles that makes T'ai Chi such a powerful martial art. As you apply this principle to your running or walking, you begin to move in a balanced way, with no part of your body doing more than its proportionate share of the total workload.

The best way to see if you are in balance is get videotaped from your front and your back on a track. Or, ask a friend to watch you and tell you if you are symmetrical in your movement. Does one of your knees swing to the outside a little? Do your elbows look the same. Do you feel like your upper body is moving as freely as your lower body? Use the list from above as a check list and then work toward brining your body and your movement into alignment and balance.

You can find balance issues going on in every aspect of your life. Do you work too much? Do you eat too many sweets? Drink too much coffee? Notice the subtle and not so subtle affects when you are out of balance. As you strive to become more balanced in your everyday life, you'll notice that all of the different areas of your life are simply pieces of the whole, each of which have an effect on the rest. By being more conscious of creating balance, you’ll learn to move through life with less effort.

 
"And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take."

                                                                                                  - John Lennon

 

Resources to help you master the Chi Running basics:

Tags

  • t'ai chi,
  • mind body work,
  • body sensing,
  • balance

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Frank and I attended the week long Chi Running program in June. We have been diligently practicing our Chi Running form and are loving it. 

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