A while ago Terry introduced me to Chi Running in one of his blogs and I would like to relate some of my experiences with it since then. I should first mention that, like many people, I came to swimming after chronic running injuries forced me to stop running about 15 years ago. In my case, I started tearing my hamstring over and over again in the same place and stretching, physical therapy, patience all failed to make this problem go away.
I got the Chi Running book out of my local library just to see if there might be something to it. After spending some time reading it, I went out and cautiously tried some of the exercises, and it didn't take me very long before I had an "Aha moment", by which I mean that I experienced personally, if only for a brief time, that this can really work. That's all it takes to get me hooked, and I've been working on it ever since. At the beginning of my experiments, I discovered that I could jog at a slow pace a little over 4 miles, something that was simply impossible before starting this process, because my old injuries would invariably start to act up. Chi Running seemed to allow me to avoid that entirely. In addition, I was able to experience the high of feeling like running has become like dancing, all rhythm, motion that carries your body with it. Of course, I got too excited, started pushing the pace too fast, and my technique deteriorated, with the result that I started feeling some of my old injuries again. So I have backed off, running very slowly, yesterday using my TT to maintain a fixed cadence while running, which I discovered helps me greatly.
One of the things that makes this so much fun is the vast common ground between Chi Running and TI. Both activities teach how to translate rotational motion along the long axis through your body into forward motion. In the case of swimming, you use your hips to drive your arms. In the case of running you use your arms to drive your hips and through them your legs. In both activities the key is to use gravity to help drive you forward, and the key in doing this is balance. This is perhaps the greatest challenge in learning both. I am still at the very beginning of my path with Chi Running, and I know that my old joints may be too arthritic to allow me to do this much longer, but I am feeling very excited and grateful for the discovery. I have the sense that my learnings in swimming are easing my path in learning the running technique, which is also an enormous satisfaction.
I would be interested in the experiences that any other swimmers are having with this!
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