In a previous blog post (Going Running or Being Run?) I described a visualization that has worked extremely well for me. It is also probably the most popular focus point based on participant feedback. This balloon visualization keeps you tall, aligned and forward into gravity – many of the points you need to support a ChiRunning position, motion, (minimal) effort level, lightness, etc. etc. The balloon is imagined floating up and forward due to a light breeze at your back.
But the running (and walking) environment is constantly changing as your goal and the terrain changes. If your goal is to move a bit faster, then perhaps the breeze picks up a bit. If you goal is to go slower, then maybe the breeze gets even lighter.
And what happens when you come to a hill?
On an uphill you want to float up, think up and stay short/light in your stride. You might imagine a larger balloon with a stronger breeze moving the balloon both forward and up. It might be a bit like an updraft that is riding the terrain up over the hill. You might also imagine the breeze is now warmer than the current temperature to aid in this visual.
On a downhill you need to gently lower yourself down without slumping, tensing, braking or losing cadence. You might just imagine less breeze for less lean while still staying tall to allow the lower body, from your pivot point, to be fluid.
And what happens when you come to a steep hill?
On a steep uphill there is probably more of the same visual adjusting for a sidehill step. On steep downhill you might imagine no breeze to keep you vertical while adjusting cadence to reduce impact and keep up with the hill.
And what happens if there is an actual physical breeze/wind?
No matter, use it to your advantage either way. You can always have a mental breeze at your back no matter what is happening physically. The breeze/wind coming at you will actually hold you up (from falling) a bit, so you can add more mental breeze/balloon/forward position to find your balance.
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.
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