23 April, 2008

Run in the hills!

This evening is my first hill race of the year!

I took part in the Irish Mountain Running Association's (IMRA) Summer League, last year. Unfortunately, I overdid it and could only run two races.

About a month ago I hurt my left knee again, but after some physiotherapy, I've been able to train again and I feel pretty good now.

My aim, this year, is to finish seven races inside the top 75:
"Summer league [is] held on Wednesday evenings in Dublin and Wicklow. There are 12 races in the series starting at about 3.5km and building up to 12.00. They are run on marked routes mainly tracks but can be quite rough underfoot. You must finish 7 races to be deemed to have completed the league and claim your IMRA T-shirt or fleece, depending on funds."
As well as the competitive aspect of hill running, I love getting out in the hills. I also find a meditative quality to running as well. I find it peaceful and stimulating at the same time.

I'm cultivating this aspect of running and I've been inspired by Danny Dreyer's Chi Running book, which I am now reading, which draws on the technique of Tai Chi to improve running form:

“T’ai chi is the mother of all martial arts, based on the premise that all movement and power originates from your center, not your arms and legs.
For centuries, the Chinese have studied animal movement and found that all movement in the body revolves around a central axis (along the spine) while the arms and legs remain as relaxed as possible and act only as conduits for the force generated by your core.

When these principles of alignment and relaxation are applied in ChiRunning and ChiWalking, efficiency increases and impact with the ground decreases. You can run farther, faster or more often without increasing your risk of injury. Your body no longer breaks down because you’re practicing to run and walk with more fluidity with every step, while using the pull of gravity for propulsion.”