Part II — Comments and suggestions by Payton Jordan
Comments and suggestions on Sri Chinmoy's running by Payton Jordan[fn:: SCH 12. Sri Chinmoy often watched videotapes of Payton Jordan's recent races in order to draw deep inspiration and to learn from his style and speed. Here are excerpts from a videotaped demonstration which Mr. Jordan was kind enough to make for Sri Chinmoy on 1 March 1983 in Los Altos, California./Your leg speed is outstanding. The problem as I see it is that you have some weakness in the abdominal region, so you will need some situp exercises and lots of flexibility and stretching exercises for the lower back. Earlier today I did some exercises — one in particular — for the lower back which will be most helpful to you.
I also noted the left arm; your arm swing is out of synch with your right arm. The right arm is coming up and back in good rhythm. But the left arm is coming up short and flying out to the side, which cuts down on the rhythm between the arm swing on your right and left side. That, in turn, slows some of the leg swing and the speed in the legs. So if you work on the abdominal region and flexibility in your lower back, I think you will increase your speed because you will be in a better body position — more forward. Also, you must correct that left arm and get it in synch with the right arm. I feel that will increase your stride and also the quickness of your stride.
Let me demonstrate a couple of points that will emphasise what I am saying. When you are running, you are leaning back like this, which takes away from your stride length. What you really want is to get more forward in this position, so that your stride length can be enhanced or increased. Also, this left arm which is going this way (cutting across the body) should come in this way. And the right arm should be a little higher — not quite so low. This will help you get better knee lift, which in turn will produce better stride length.
We want to work on body lean, we want to work on the left arm in rhythm with the right arm. We want to keep that good lean position so that we can increase the stride length and also leave you with a better driving position all the time. If you are leaning back here, it is very hard to stride. You are really pulling your way along. That doesn't give you the kind of drive for speed or the kind of drive needed to get leg stretch or stride length. So we're going to work on "chest up, chin in, shoulders back" and also nice arm rhythm. We're going to work on trying to keep the abdominals tight by your exercises and the lower back relaxed by doing the exercises I demonstrated earlier in the film. If we do that lower back stretch or yoga posture, we can get the stride length. If we get the stride length, then we can increase your speed. Three things are important, three things: more strength with flexibility along with it, more quickness and longer stride. If you do these things, then you will get faster. You have the leg speed. There is no question in my mind that you can drop the 100-metre time from where you are now to the 12 or 13 second area. You must work on these things.
For example, for the abdominal region, let me give you a situp exercise that will help. I do them in the front room or anywhere I can get my foot under something. Your knees are apart because that avoids a strain on the back, and your knees are bent. Your back is straight and your hands are behind your head. You only go up 30 degrees and down, but no rest. Up-down, up-down, up-down, up-down. You should consider doing 50 of these twice a day: once in the morning and once at night.
Now for the stretch that we talked about earlier in the film. Let me just do it once for you so you can get the picture. You stretch one leg out front and put the other leg alongside the knee with the foot flat against it. You put your hand on the inside of the bent foot and put your other hand straight behind you and twist as far to the side as you can. Then reverse that position and do it with the other leg. This, by the way, is a half spine twist, an Indian yoga posture, which you should probably well remember, but may have forgotten. That will help relieve that low back pain you have and help stretch your low back in such a way that you can get more flexibility and freedom of leg swing. That, in connection with the front exercise you did with the situps, should greatly enhance your ability to move with more forward body in your running action. If your body lean is in about this position (leans forward), you will be able to increase your stride three to four inches and, over a distance of a hundred yards, you know that means a faster time.
Along with these things, some pullups or chinups and pushups will greatly increase your shoulder strength so that when you run, you will be able to get that strong rhythm with your right and left arm. We'll correct that left arm that does this all the time (swings across the body). We'll get it to stay right in the same line of flight as the right arm. Relax your face, put your shoulders back and keep a nice, smooth, coordinated swing. That should help your speed. I think that those exercises from the film that we send should be a great help to you also.