Training for your Marathon in a Month: Avoiding injury

Avoiding injury on the run

We have all seen runners that look like they are gliding along, effortless and pain free. You have probably also seen people who look like they are causing themselves pain, they look tense, tight and stressed. The more relaxed you are as a runner the better running will feel.

The basics: Warming up, cooling down, and stretching

Practice chi running

The aim of chi running technique is to make your running efficient, enjoyable and pain free. It’s all about practice and taking the time to think about what you are doing when you are running rather than focusing on the clock, the finish line or maybe even what’s for dinner.

How do we run

Many people hit the ground heavy when they run, taking long strides and hitting the ground with a bang. This put a lot of pressure on the joints. To move forward they use the feet and calves which can often end up overusing these muscles and getting injured.

With chi running we focus on using our core muscles, the larger muscles of our body and with the help of gravity we aim to glide along rather than plod along.

It might all sounds very complicated, but by making little changes gradually, you can really help your running feel lighter, less effort and more enjoyable.

Technique tips

Here are a few chi running basic tips to remember when you are running. Experiment with one of these tips in your next run and notice how it feels.

Run tall

Imagine a string pulling you up tall from the back of your head. You should feel strong and tall, facing forward and your core muscles will engage keeping you in good posture.

Relax your body

Make sure when you engage your posture that you don’t tense up your whole body. Make sure you are relaxed completely – arms, legs, shoulders, feet etc.

Use your arms

Relax your shoulders, bend the elbows and imagine yourself hitting behind you with your elbows as you run. Don’t clench your fists.

Look forward

Keep your gaze forward. Imagine someone in front has a string from their back pulling you forward. Avoid looking down where possible.

Be light on your feet

Relax your feet and legs and try to avoid long strides. Imagine you don’t want to leave any footprints. Nice and light steps. You are aiming to hit the ground underneath your body – not in front.

Listen to your body

You have to become the judge yourself of your body, and notice how the body is feeling. Don’t run through pain. Take a walk break, relax the body and try again if you feel uncomfortable. Be conscious of your warm-up and watch your pace. Be sure you do your cooldown stretches too. Many people find a nice hot bath a good thing to loosen out the muscles after a run too.

Let’s aim for effortless and pain free running. Listen to your body, slow down, warm-up/cooldown, take your baths, and whatever you do - don’t run through pain.