Too full for dessert, we sat and enjoyed a bit of the live entertainment, and then walked for an hour back to the house.
I spent some time this afternoon, reading a few more chapters of Chi Running. I have been having pain-free runs and walks since I started using this technique for both running and walking and I am convinced that it is for me.
I have discussed it with The Captain too and he just seems to naturally move this way - he has never been a heel striker like I realized I naturally
I think overstriding was my biggest mistake... My long legs want to reach out like a galloping horse does, and then I am not only pounding my heels into the ground, but that impact comes up my legs and drives into my knees. It is also hard on the quads.
Today I was looking for information about how to run up hills. There are so many of them in this neighborhood and they cannot be avoided. I was sure that there would be a prescribed strategy and was not disappointed.
I made some notes ... sometimes when I write things down I retain them more readily - a holdover from my school days and also many years of studying throughout my career as a computer geek in the financial services sector, I guess.
Here is what I wrote down...
- increase upper body effort and reduce lower body effort
- lean into the hill
- keep upper body ahead of hips and feet
- don't step ahead of your hips
- keep shoulders ahead of hips and hips ahead of feet
- this prevents overuse of hamstrings
- swing arms forward and up
- shorten your stride length
- relax your lower legs
- keep your heels down
- avoid overworking lower leg muscles
- don't run on forefoot - too much energy spent working small muscles to do a big job
- use mental images
- imagine yourself floating up the hill like a you are a hot air balloon
- run sideways
- do a tiny crossover step so you can keep your heels down
- face toward 10 o'clock and do 6 to 8 strides
- turn and face 2 o'clock for 6 to 8 strides
- work your way up the hill switching back and forth this way
Going uphill, facing 2 o'clock, left shoulder into the hill
- swing your downhill arm across your body reaching up for your shoulder
- shift to 'granny' gear
- shorten your stride
- slow down your cadence
- lean into the hill with your uphill shoulder
- lean with enough intent to feel as if you're leaning your should into a door to break it open
- walk if you need to
- switch the emphasis to your lower body
- neutralize the impact
- loosen your hips, stretch out your stride, and let gravity pull you
- relax everything from the waist down
- keep your cadence steady
- let your stride length increase
- lean downill
- regulate your speed with your lean
- hold your C shape with a level pelvis
- let your pelvis rotate more
- this allows your stride to open up behind you reducing the shock to your knees and quads
- relax your ankles
- don't dorsiflex your ankles
- try pointing toes as legs swing forward to avoid a hard heel strike
- relax your mind
- surrender to the speed, Grasshopper.
Okay, I love this reference to an old tv show called Kung Fu. It starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin Master, travelling in the wild West on a quest to find his brother. His master called him Grasshopper. I have a young friend I think of as Grasshopper. But, I digress.
- if you find yourself 'putting on the brakes' a change of technique is in order
- control your speed with your 'gas pedal'
- let your lean revert to vertical to slow down
- take very small strides and peel up your heels with each step
- zigzag down the hill if there is enough room
- relax your shoulders and keep them low
- balance yourself in a vertical position directly over your heels and let your weight ride softly on your heels
- this will direct the shock absorption to the back of your legs
- as your foot comes down, roll heel-to-toe to further reduce impact
There will be lots of opportunity for me to practise this over the weekend. The house we are staying in is on the crest of a hill... either direction from here is DOWN. So, if nothing else, I can just go out and practise running up and down this hill!
Do you change your technique for hills?
Any advice or thoughts to share about this?