You can make running easier…after all, why push yourself down the road when you can be pulled…by gravity, that is.
In our last workshop some people found it difficult to let go and let gravity do its job. Whether it’s a mindset that says you need to work hard, or legs that want to be tree stumps and not loose like noodles, the hardest part of ChiRunning® is learning to relax and let go.
When Donna felt her legs go truly limp she was amazed and very pleased. She’d never felt her legs relax so much! And then movement became easy.
Here are some tips to get your legs to relax. Practice these with beginner’s mind – the kid-like energy of, “heck, what might happen if I try this”:
Shake ‘em out: before you run or walk, first thing in the morning, as often as you can stand in a one-legged posture stance and shake the other leg from the hip down. Really let it go. It should flop around and your ankle and foot should be totally limp and relaxed. Memorize that feeling.
While in the one-legged posture stance, see how you can use good posture rather than leg muscles to hold you upright. Remember to engage your core!
The goofy run or walk: practice being totally limp and loose while running or walking and then simple add in good posture by lifting at the crown of your head. Feel your core engage. Let everything else remain limp and relaxed.
Allow a slight forward fall and let your legs lightly touch the ground before they sweep out behind you.
Always keep your knees bent. If you straighten you leg completely, it is more likely you are engaging unnecessary muscles.
It may seem impossible that your legs should be used so little while running. However, if you want to run for a long time (either a long distance or until you grow quite old), you will be able to do so, without injury, if you use your legs appropriately. They are not there to lug your body around by pushing against the road. They are there to connect your torso to the ground. They are there to allow you to cooperate with gravity. They are there to let you run free.