Mindful Running in practice – Part 1

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After spending time working on body awareness and learning to observe what your body is doing while you are running you’re ready to take the next step. Firstly make the observation and then after a brief mental pause decide what action needs to be taken , if any – ‘Observe, PAUSE, Think, Act’ .

That tiny pause followed by a think, prevents a REaction and creates an action. In this way you remain in control rather than having circumstances force you into hasty decisions. Start every run with an intent or a purpose then that will always influence how to Act. For instance should your calf become painful during an Easy run. You’d stop and walk. If your calf became painful during an A race you might, after a think, decide to keep pushing on.

Key body areas we are mindful of are
Feet – monitor the big toe contact
Hips – where are they in relation to your foot strike
Shoulders – where are they in relation to your hips
Head – where is it in relation to your shoulders

Feet
You will hopefully have noticed by now just how involved the big toe is when you are running or even walking. Noticing the big toe will put you in touch with how your feet are striking. If your big toe makes contact with the ground before the rest of your foot then you are a forefoot striker. If it seems like your big toe and foot make contact at the same time then you’re a mid foot striker. If your heel touches before your big toe then you’re a heel striker. None of these are inherently problematic as long as at the point that your landing foot starts to absorb your weight your ankle is directly below your knee

Hips
The hips are your true source of power. Hips should be level both from left to right and from front to back. Imagine your hips as a bowl full of marbles, you don’t want to spill any. You lean from your ankles through your hips. It should feel as if you are leading with your hips. Get the hips as close to above the landing foot as possible

Shoulders
Shoulders should be relaxed and stacked above your hips when you are in your stride. They will be slightly forward of your hips if you’re accelerating. They should never ever be behind your hips because then you’ll be braking with every step you take

Head
The average human head weighs 4.5 – 5 kg. The best place to have your head is resting on top of your shoulders. Keep your gaze focused around 10 m forward and comfortable.

Imagine hips, shoulder girdle and head connected by a straight pole. To run faster, open your stride and push your hips forward and tilt the pole slightly forward keeping hips, shoulders and head in a straight line.

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