Recently I attended a Total Immersion Swimming and Chi Running clinics. I did both with the intention of indulging my laziness – wanting to improve speed and endurance without exerting any more energy than I already am.
Both instructors convinced me that some amount of balance, posture, and relaxation will help improve my swimming or running. Be one with the water and you will swim like a dolphin. Good posture coupled with relaxed arms and legs will help me run forever and ever. I started to imagine I was listening to a yogi sitting on top of a mountain giving advice to triathletes. Seriously.
After an enlightened morning, I realized that both TI Swimming and Chi Running embrace the concept of being at peace with the universe or at least allowing yourself to be one with your environment. When you swim, don’t fight the water, flow with it. When you run, fall into it. Relax. No tight asses in Chi Running. Cue sound of heart beat. Then overlay with deep breathing, and light sound of water or footsteps in the background. Ohhmmmm. Seriously.
Over the last year, I’ve learned that to be a successful (or at least happy) athlete, your entire body has to be in sync. Putting in hundreds of miles prepping for races and triathlons didn’t hurt my back. A weak core and tight hip flexors did. After years of listening to Beth preach the benefits of yoga, I started yoga. And yoga started me on a different journey. The swim/run clinics also pushed me farther down this road. I’ve learned that it’s not just about “getting a good workout” it’s also about strength and flexibility. And lots of balance — for my body and what’s in my head. And guess what — being at peace with the universe. In this case, being at peace with myself, what I’m doing at that moment (running at 5 friggin’ AM), and being able to embrace the fact that I CAN run and swim and ride. With relatively no pain. Cue happy zen-like music.
Now I have to cross-train to be fit for life. Flow with life and use inner muscles to either move quickly or deal with crap when it gets thrown at me. Be at peace with what comes. Because it just will. Definitely embrace my universe of children and husband. Quiet the mind. Don’t fight it. Fall into it gently. And I can run forever and ever.