There are a lot of tools you can use to support your focus and alignment. In a previous post (Going Running or Being Run?) an imaginary balloon was described. This image supports your alignment by “lengthening the back of the neck” indirectly and helps your subtly cooperate with gravity. It puts your head/chin in a neutral position; slightly tucked and back. If the chin lifts or moves forward there is a very good chance you will lead with the waist or bend at the waist.
Another tool to support this position is the brim of a baseball hat. Standing in place, align your posture. Then adjust your baseball hat so the brim is aligned from your eyes to your running focus point ahead of you. Standing straight, without a lean, I like to align level to about the horizon. The distance to my focus point when moving (subtly leaning) depends on the terrain and the surroundings. If I am on a flat surface, it might be 100+ yds away. If I am on hilly terrain then I adjust my focus point more often. The objective to be able to look along the brim to your focus point.
When you get moving – if you can’t see the brim of the cap along your line of sight to your focus point, your head is out of position. The combination of your eyesight and your balloon creates a focus forward and an aligned position.
[Note: If I am on a technical trail, then my focus shifts between a forward focus point and my peripheral vision downward. But I have to work hard to not look down with my head. The hat also helps with this since if I look down with my head then when I look up with my eyes I can’t see my forward focus point. I see the underneath of the hat brim. The more often I shift my focus forward, the more often I am reminded to stay aligned and look down with my eyes only.]
I have been using this trick for some time. Here I am at the 2008 NJ Marathon. People I knew on the course did not think I saw them, but I did. I just did not take my eyes off my focus point.
Here I am at the 2010 JFK50 Ultra. Again keeping my eyes forward to a focus point.
In both pictures you can see how the brim of the hat is aligned with my focus point which reminds me to stay focused forward and aligned. There are (at least) four ways to be aligned in ChiRunning® (4 Components of Alignment for Running From); and this trick helps with all of them.
[Note that ChiWalking® is once again based on the same principles … and in walking you can use the same trick.]
Thoughts on this post? Leave your comment or question below and join the discussion …
David Stretanski is a holistic health, fitness and wellness coach – and Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor. For more information on David, please see his About Me, Contact page or his website at http://www.eChiFitness.com.
ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are registered trademarks of ChiLiving, Inc.