Chi Walking: Learning to walk “properly”

Last Saturday was the first Bull Session (it’s only now I learned to differentiate Bull Circle from Bull Session… “Circle” is talk/seminar, “session” is clinic :P). I’m glad I came — got to know some of my fellow future marathoners, and even walked and chatted with a few. But of course, those are just perks. Highlight was the clinic itself: Chi Walking.

The Bull Session was on the exact same day I had to do the “45-minute long walk” in Coach Jim Lafferty’s 22-week marathon program. My longest distance (using the run/walk method, of course) was 10km before I got sick. Though I was still in the process of recovery (I still had sniffles), I knew my muscles could handle 45 minutes of walking. I figured it would be easy, and even thought I wouldn’t get tired, but I was wrong :P

It looked easy enough, but it wasn’t. Lit Onrubia, our instructor, showed us the “proper way” of walking — walking in such a way that you’d be able to maximize walk breaks after a few minutes of running. I’ve seen somebody doing that kind of walk at the Marikina Sports Center once, and I thought he walked funny. As it turned out, the guy that made me lift my eyebrows was actually walking properly! Ah well. My turn to make people lift their brows on me :P

We walked slow. Like, really slow. I think I practiced my talking skills a lot that morning with my new buddies. I got to admit, Chi Walking was hard. It wasn’t easy being so conscious of walking in a different way. Lit says it would get easier when I saw him with Jaymie and the TBR Dream Marathon Team at Sentro, and he’s right. I’ve been practicing Chi Walking 30 minutes outside my program’s required 30-minute maintenance run the past week. Though I still need to remind myself the proper form right after a run interval, I’m slowly getting into the habit.

We only did three rounds of Chi Walking (about 45 minutes) and another 2 rounds of run/walk at The Fort, so I didn’t really notice the difference it did for me. But then again, I was still a bit sick and my nose was pretty clogged (my new friends probably think I really talk in a nasalized voice), and I got tired easily. Obviously, when you’re sick, you are sick, regardless of how many kilometers your body is used to running when you’re healthy. I still can’t say I was back to my healthy self when I did my maintenance run last Tuesday, but I think I was in better shape than I was at the clinic. That’s when I noticed the difference.

I walked for 10 minutes as warm-up, then 30 minutes run/walk. Another 20 minutes for cool down after the run (I apparently wandered too far from home, hence the skewed cool-down ratio :P). It’s easier to see the difference Chi Walking makes when you’re running longer times, as that’s when you really need to reap the benefits of stored energy. I had a bit more energy left after 30 minutes (which was Coach Jim’s recommended time for maintenance runs), I wanted to run more, but I didn’t push it. Stored energy or not, I was still in the process of recovering from colds.

I did my second maintenance run yesterday (15mins. warm-up walk, 30mins. run/walk, 15mins. cool down walk), and I felt stronger than I did last Tuesday. Chi Walking, plus my improving health, really helped a lot. It felt great!

I’m so glad I took on the challenge of 42.2km and registered for the TBR Dream Marathon. One of the best running decisions I’ve made this year. The registration fee was well worth it! The help and support they’re giving their runners are overwhelmingly sincere, I never felt this much “spoiling” from a run event before. Can’t thank Jaymie and her team enough for this :)

I think I’m ready for my long run this weekend! :D

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