Chi Running, Yoga & why we all need to relax to improve

I signed up for a ‘Chi Running & Yoga’ day with Nick Constantine and Mark Russell after it had been recommended by a client who had been last year. It is no secret that running is my nemesis. I can make myself do it and have completed a range of distances up to a half marathon on more than one occasion. It very definitely doesn’t come easily and is a labour not necessarily of love. I focus, train hard, complete the event and move on. There is always the intention to keep going but it has never quite happened.

So, I am hoping that this time it will be different and this course is part of that. I have enjoyed building up my running and have managed to do so without any niggles or heartache which is a real breakthrough. My fitness is good and I am finally starting to believe that I can run. As with anything a positive outlook pays dividends.

What I am really looking for help with is what I can do to make it easier so that I don’t have 34 minutes of hard slog at the start of every run before I hit my flow. The yoga element of the day appeals in my continued quest to slow down and to relax.

So, what does a Chi Running and Yoga day involve? We spent the morning focused on running and after lunch on the yoga. I am not going to detail the content of the day but will rather share what I came away with. That after all is the value although I am sure that each of the 16 attendees will have a slightly different take on what that is.

The message is one that we are all hearing time and again and that is that in order to improve we need to relax. I found exactly the same when venturing into the world of swimming. Too much focus and frantic effort will drain your energy and stop you from swimming well. It is about relaxing, listening to your body and working with it. Tension wastes energy and can create imbalances thereby blocking progress. It is no great leap then to apply the same logic to running. Once you relax and flow you will find it easier, be able to run faster and increase your speed too. We hinder our own progress by trying too hard and throwing ourselves in with gusto. The best thing that you can do is to relax, slow down and think about how you are moving.

Going back to my running then. There is no secret or blinding inspiration. I need to work on flowing and have drills I can practice to make this second nature. The theory is that I will then be more relaxed and not fight myself in the early stages of my run. I am going to give it a go and see where it takes me. I have to say I am a little concerned that my tendency to overthink everything is firing up as we speak. There is every chance that I have just made it harder not easier to relax…..

One thing that we did talk about was the ability to relax. The fact is that the way that you do one thing tends to be the way that you do everything. So following that you conclude that in order to relax in your running you need to be able to relax in all other areas of your life too. I managed it in the pool so I am hopeful!

We are right back to the need to slow down and try to ground ourselves. I completely accept that too much stress is a bad thing and that running around like a headless chicken is a recipe for disaster. I am however going to throw something else into the pot here and that is the power of positive energy. Anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that I am full of energy and enthusiasm and that is an important part of who I am and my success in what I do. Whilst I do need to deal better with stress and take time out, I don’t want to dampen my energy and the impact it has around me. What I am aspiring to is a better balance and to change pace when I need to. Perhaps that is the approach that I should take with my running too. No overthinking or trying too hard. Go with it being mindful of my form, staying relaxed and listening to my body as I run.

Now that I can do…

As always I would love to hear your thoughts and for you to add your comments. Make sure that you share with friends too.

Clare x

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