This morning I went running with my dog and was thinking of writing a blog post about the value of keeping the chin level with the ground. I focus on a number of things while running but keeping the chin level is very important because I feel that if my chin is level the odds are my spine is extending well.
It requires a lot of tone to keep the chin and head in a good place over a long run and I teach new runners to stop soon after they find that the head and neck lose support from the core. I am big on technique and the need to imprint good technique into the brain. If we are running with poor technique we are telling the brain and body that it is okay.
We have a house guest staying with us and after my run I was showing her videos of my children. I played a video of my kids running and then after the video, youtube put up the clip I posted above as something I might be interested in. I quickly lost interest in our guest and watched the video a couple of times.
Synchronicity indeed. It was easy for me to obsess on this video. In the opening frames we see three completely different runners. The blue shirt in the lead, Tadese, is leaning too far forward, Bekele, the eventual winner, is beautifully upright with the slightest lean and the guy in third is leaning way too far back for my taste. Tadese, who eventually gives up the lead is all about his elevated chin. He is leaning far too forward as if he is gassed and his elevated chin suggests that as well. It is a 10K and I would love to have seen his running form in the beginning.
Watching their legs in slo-mo is a thing of beauty. There foot falls are stunning with the foot always landing directly below the knee. But again, it is about the chin. When the chin elevates we lose the full extension of the spine. The lift of the chin suggests a shortening of the cervical spine which in turn is going to create the same collapse in the lumbar spine.
Whether running, walking or standing we want to have a level head.