Tightrope and Chi Running

Tonight Shauna and I took Kyler to his first circus. He loved it!

My favorite part was a trampoline routine they did. However, the part I thought was the most interesting was the tightrope walker.

I noticed that when they walked across the rope, they would place the ball of their foot just in front of their center of mass and then slide it forward. As I watched this I thought about Chi Running.

I thought about how it is interesting in Chi Running your stride lengthens to the rear and the tightrope walker lengthens towards the front. At first glance this is exactly opposite and it is. The interesting thing is: even though the movements are in opposite directions the reason is the same. Cooperating with gravity is the common thread between Chi Running and tightrope walking. With the tightrope, the purpose is to go forward from one end of the rope to the other without falling off of the rope. With running you move from one point to another without falling on your face.

Next time you see a tightrope walker, focus on how they balance in relation to their center of mass. Hopefully this will be a good reminder of how we work with gravity when we run. If you can begin to really feel this in your own running, you’ll be well on your way to running energy efficiently and injury free!

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