Aikido and Running

I’m going to be starting an on-and-off series called “Aikido and ________ “. My hope to share with the world what Aikido can do to someone’s life.

Now I’m perfectly aware that one can replace “Aikido” with any martial art – or any disciplined activity for that matter. This is just my take.

winter_running_vol_1

I may have mentioned it here before, but I was on my junior high’s cross country team. That year several things happened:

1.) I had lost my baby fat.
2.) My mile time went from 8:40 at the  beginning of the season to 6:54 at the end of it (Dec 1998).
3.)  My grades went from a 2.5 ( which included one D.) to a 3.8 at the end of the year ( All A+’s except for French which I got a 88.89% as a final grade – damn you French!)

You can almost say that running gave me the drive to get good grades. Or rather – exercise in of itself gave me the ability to get good great grades. Why I never followed this till now, baffles me – that and my academically-inclined parents were too narrow minded to realize this got them the results they wanted back then!

Any how, ever since then I’ve been an avid runner. Every single one of my workout routines involved some sort of running. Even when I’m pumping iron (more on this in a future post) I always incorporate some sort of running.  You can say it’s a part of whole I am almost at this point.

Which brings me to Aikido, ever since taking Aikido I’ve noticed that I’ve applied the mechanics of Aikido to my running and my form has form has improved tremendously. The difference is like night and day. In the past I realized I was running tense and “up high” – I’d swing my shoulders wildly whenever I need to pick up speed. This resulted in most of the energy being expended to swinging the arms as opposed to having the energy directed towards the legs.

I also realized that I was running with most of the pressure on the outside of the foot. What I’ve discovered is that by applying the principals of having your weight placed along the inside of your foot – where you arch is – I actually had a much stabler roll in my stride.

Not to mention a greater acceleration ability!

Yes, along having a much stabler stride, my acceleration was smoother and the energy was directed towards my feet, instead of being wasted on swinging the arms.

What I also discovered was that the legs have a “natural stride” to them. Believe it or not, most people have bad posture – myself included! By allowing the natural alignment of the bones and feet to come together, my stride as well as my times have gradually improved correlating with the amount of time that I spent in the gym and running.

It was like a “Eureka!” moment for me, for all those long years of working out (including most of my time in college), my mile times had plateaued stubbornly, despite running twice a week in the gym.

Want proof? My mile time back in junior high has stood for 15 years at 6:54 till last September. Last week I clocked my mile at 6:22.

This of course with running the mile 3 times a week for 3 months. My goal is to having an average mile time of 6 minutes for the majority of my adult life.

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