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Why do people
People usually run to lose weight, get fit, compete, feel part of something... Running does not require a venue, team mates or a lot of specialist equipment.
Is running easy?
A lot of websites and articles indicate that running is easy to do. This is an interesting assertion; suggesting that virtually anyone can just buy a pair of running shoes and hit the streets.
Of course, this is true but it doesn't answer the question. Is running easy to do?
Quality of exercise
Most people who run have received no formal training in how to run. They just start running.
Little or no thought is given to technique, alignment, good body use, breathing, skeletal health, muscular tension, coordination, accuracy, biomechanics or suitability.
The fact that you are running isn't proof that you are running well.
By that logic, couldn't any individual with no tuition whatsoever drive a car immediately or play the piano?
Is your running healthy?
Some runners can run well. Most do not.
If your aim is to get fit, then you want to avoid medically unsound running practices. Usually, people take bad habits of body use from everyday life straight into their running...
Most runners run with extremely bad posture:
Elbows are stiff and locked (often raised)
The body is leaning forwards or stooping; either at the neck or collapsing at the bottom of the rib cage
Shoulders are lifted; often one higher than the other
Considerable tension in the upper body
Frozen sacroiliac; immobile
Knees twisted (the foot flicks out sideways)
Weight is bearing heavily down into the knees
The skeleton is not moving freely, naturally or comfortably
This would be bad posture for any form of exercise. It causes serious fatigue and adverse wear and tear on the body. The tension in the body uses energy and tires you out.
Many runners have careworn faces with deep lines caused by emotional stress. They don't look happy when running.
They look deeply upset. Their approach to running is causing them to suffer.
Over-taxing, pushing the body and pursuing unnecessary goals is harmful and leads to pain and injury. There are other ways to run and/or to get fit.
Tai chi & running
The principles of tai chi can improve your performance in a variety of sports.
Tai chi for health teaches you to:
Relax the muscles
Loosen the joints
Rely on the centre
Use less energy
Focus on the means/method/technique rather than the result
Reduce the risk of injury
Accomplish more using less effort
Recover more quickly
The highly efficient
way in which tai chi uses the body can be applied specifically to running.
Tai chi lessons
Tai chi for health classes are concerned with awareness, balance, whole-body strength, working with gravity and applying tai chi in practical situations.
These skills teach you to feel your body, to be immersed in your own physicality.
You learn to work within the natural range of motion and use only the necessary degree of strength.
A runner can take these abilities and apply them to their exercise.
These books are an interesting read:
Running with the Whole Body by Jack Heggie
Fix Your Feet by Philip Maffetone
Chi Running by Danny Dreyer
Running Within by Jerry Lynch
I think Sifu Waller knows
more about functional biomechanics that all the orthopaedic surgeons I have
met put together. I rarely have clicking joints now since Sifu Waller
instructed me to work within the limits of the click and then build up
over time to a wider range.
(Dr David Cousins)
1 June 1997
Last updated 21 November 2018