Helen Chen has been with us at ACNJ for nearly 20 years. She blends her deep understanding of acupuncture and TCM with a healthy, active life that she shares with us and her patients. Recently Helen started a regular running schedule, including training for races and half marathons. In October she completed the Staten Island Half-Marathon in under 2 hours! We asked Helen to share her running experiences and insights.
What motivated you to start running regularly?
I realized as I was going through hormonal changes that I was feeling sluggish, had gained weight and was unhappy with the way my body was changing. I felt I needed a new fitness regimen to challenge me and promote energy and metabolism.
How has running changed your physique, energy level and moods or psychological condition?
After half a year I was able to fit into old jeans and I liked the change in my physique and energy level. I also realized that the discipline of running daily helped me focus on my priorities, on organizing the important tasks of my day, and helping me let go of what was unimportant. After my morning run I found myself physically and mentally clear.
Please describe how your training has evolved as well as your understanding or running and its’ benefits.
I started to run for health reasons and soon found that I needed to understand how to train properly. I joined a local running club and I’ve really enjoyed running with others and have enjoyed the support and discipline of the group. It has given me motivation and discipline and I’ve learned a lot about running technique and how to experience joy of running and stretch my limits.
Have you experienced any injuries due to running? How have you managed the physical stress and learned to train while avoiding injuries?
Luckily nothing serious. I have learned how to accommodate the physical stress of running on my body and accept that I’m no longer in my 20s. I’ve learned how to listen to my body and appreciate how it can repair and renew itself. It’s been fun challenging myself and I feel like I’m enrolled in a self-education course.
In what ways has running helped you as an acupuncturist and healer? Are you focusing on sports injuries and athletes in a different way?
I’ve learned a lot about sports injuries and healing. I’ve experienced how running has helped improve my injured discs in my lower spine and I understand how to treat athletes and patients with injuries. I’m definitely using acupuncture in more precise ways for these patients.
How has running in races and competition changed your view of running and yourself?
Running and competing in races has helped me explore the possibility of joy and vitality that life has presented for me.
What are your running goals for the future?
I’m very surprised that I’m setting the goal of running a full marathon. I can't believe I just said that! I realize that I’m starting my running career at a time when many people my age are winding down their running regimen.
Helen has been blogging about her unique running journey. For those who want to take a deep dive into her running experiences and insights you can go to her blog here.
Learn more about Helen Chen, L. Ac., M.S.T.O.M. click here.
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