These running drills are based on the ChiRunning technique. In ChiRunning we do many drills to aid participants in body sensing how the technique should feel in their bodies. The following are some of my favorites for emphasizing the four components of the form, posture, arm swing, ankle lift and moving from your dantien (or falling forward).
1. Peeling Up Your Feet – This helps you body sense the movement of the lower legs, lifting, rather than pushing off. Stand with tall posture, and then peel your feet off the ground like you would peel a post it note. Lifting the ankle, the heel comes up first and the toes last. The shins and ankles stay relaxed, allowing the toes to remained dropped down (this helps prevent heal striking and over working the shins). Practicing this at a standstill, and then while waling, will help create new muscle memory and make it more natural while running. Watch the video.
2. Knee Bending Drill – This helps you to body sense a number of things. When you start the drill, and you’re kicking up towards your butt without moving anywhere, you can sense what it feels like to land underneath your hips and mid foot, as well as keeping the knees down and the ankles up. Next you’ll maintain your tall posture and let your upper body (or dantien) fall ahead of your feet. Kicking up behind you helps you to emphasize the feeling of falling forward. This can be done as a warmup or mid run if you feel like you’ve lost your form. Watch the video.
3. Rib Scratcher– This helps you to body sense maintaining the arms at 90 degree angles, and having them move back and forward in a V formation. The arm swing is more narrow in the front, but not crossing your center line, and wider in the back. This can also help to reduce shoulder rotation. Keeping the arms at 90 degree angles, you’ll keep the forearms in contact with the sides of your body. As you draw the elbow back, it will angle out slightly, as you let the arm relax forward, the hand will come in towards the center.