Make the Most Out of a Bad Run

If the Problem Is in Your Body

If the problem is physical, it will most often express itself somewhere in your body as:

  • An ache or pain (ranging from dull to sharp)?
  • Muscular fatigue or weakness?
  • Muscular tension
  • Some type of internal discomfort

As I mentioned previously, if the pain is in your body, you should be able to put your finger on it... or, at the least, sense where the discomfort is coming from.

How to Help Your Body

Here are some suggestions to try, if you sense that your problem is in your body.
First of all, do your best to precisely locate the problem, then work on the problem by addressing the cause. Here is our original list of problem areas along with some tips for what to do in each situation.?

?An ache or pain (ranging from dull to sharp)

  • This is your body telling you that something is not right with how you're moving. Take the time to pinpoint the epicenter of the ache or pain and check to see if you're moving that particular body part in the correct range of motion.
  • Go through as many of the chirunning focuses as you can remember, and see if instating any of them helps to reduce your discomfort. If your discomfort is not getting worse, continue to work the focuses that seem to help the most.
  • ?If the pain is getting worse, stop your run.?

?Muscular fatigue or weakness

  • If your feeling muscular fatigue, your body is telling you that you're either out of shape or using too much muscle and not enough technique. In either case, slow down, shorten your stride, and do your best to work on your postural alignment

Muscular tension?

  • If you're holding tension in your muscles, you'll either feel tired or you'll experience a limited range of motion in the area that is tense. If you need to, stop your run and stretch or loosen the tight muscles, breathing deeply while focusing on the tense areas.?When you resume running, soften those muscles with every stride. Imagine your?muscles hanging limply on your skeleton.
  • Every 5-10 minutes during your run, let your arms and legs go limp and run along like a rag doll for 100 yards. Then, keep that sense of looseness as you continue on with your run.?

Some type of internal discomfort

  • Internal sensations of discomfort should be dealt with individually and with common sense. Messages from your organs are not something to take lightly. Proceed with caution, and if the discomfort increases even a tinch...head home and deal with your problem when you're not running.
  • If you have a headache or stomach ache from some sort of over-indulgence, it's not a great reason to stop your run. Running is one of the world's best cures for over-doing food or drink. Just think of how good and cleaned out you'll feel after a good workout.
  • If you're short of breath, you're either running faster than your body is conditioned to run, or you're breathing is too shallow. In either case you can slow down, shorten your stride, or try belly breathing.

What it all comes down to is that you always have choices. When you're out on your run and it's a struggle to enjoy yourself as much as you'd like, there's always something you can do about it. You can let yourself get swept into a downward spiral ... or you can productively approach your predicament by choosing to struggle with your adversity, with the possibility of turning a potentially "bad" run, into a transformative experience.


For beginners and competitors, practiced by thousands of runners, ChiRunning combines modern physics with the ancient wisdom of T'ai Chi to create a running form that is easily learned and makes running more effortless and enjoyable. To learn more, visit www.chirunning.com

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