At a Nike Run Club last year I was lucky to meet Bryan Huberty who is training for the 2012 Olympic marathon…um yes, I was excited to learn from this guy, but even more amazed at how friendly and down to Earth this stand out athlete was! I talked with him after a couple races (where he of course took first) and each time he was just so nice…not sure why I think a fast person would not be nice, but I really couldn’t understand why he was asking about MY race.
That’s Bryan on the right after his team took 4th in the Miami to Key West Ragnar…yeah that’s like an average 6 minute mile for 200 miles!
During one of our discussions I learned that Bryan teaches ChiRunning, so I hit him up with some questions that I thought might help all of us as we continue working on a our running form.
1. How long have you been practicing chi running?
I have been practicing ChiRunning for 3 years and teaching it as a certified instructor for almost 1 year.
2. What is the biggest benefit you have seen?
Running has become more effortless and relaxed. I have learned to train my mind to focus on what my body is doing by body-sensing and communicate with the body to help it relax. By using my core as my chi center I have "given my legs the day off" so to speak! The lean is also very important but overall I think the mental aspect is what has benefited me the most.
3. Which technique made the biggest difference?
Focusing your mind on what your body is doing and finding mental clarity.
4. What technique is hardest for people to master?
Tucking the pelvis inward to engage the lower abs is one that it takes most people several months to a year of practice to feel comfortable with. Also called "making the C-shape."
Picture from ChiRunning.com
5. What is one thing you recommend everyone try today?
Running tall. Pretend a string is attached to the crown of your head and it is pulling you upward and forward. When you run tall you feel like you're 6'4" even if you're only 5'6". It helps open the lungs up and put your body into proper alignment. Alignment is very important in order for muscle relaxation to happen. The following is a tip from Danny Dreyer
Place your hand on the backside of your neck and brush your fingers in an upward direction. While you're doing this, lift up on the back of your head, like you're trying to reach for the sky with the crown of your head. This motion will stretch all the muscles on the back of your neck and allow your chin to naturally stay low. It will also help you straighten your upper spine without the use of your hands.
Hopefully soon I will have time to set up a stride analysis with Bryan, so I can bring you even more good information about all the ways I am running wrong. Truly, I have been working on the C shape and landing with my feet under me for quite some time. I think it is helping me get faster, so I’m determined to keep learning more about ChiRunning.
I am grateful for moisturized Kleenex
I am grateful for dried veggie chips
I am grateful for egg sandwiches
I am grateful for funny FB updates
I am grateful for friends sharing photos