Chi Running


My running form has been pretty abysmal lately. Legs like lead, pace like an old lady(okay, okay, don`t start!) and I`ve gloomy thoughts creeping in about last year being maybe as good as I`m ever going to get.

Hmmmm. Time to change things around.

Have been reading Danny Dreyer`s “Chi Running“. It appeals because it claims to minimize injury while also minimizing the effort one puts into running. And anyway, I`m biased towards anything that encourages me to really enjoy running.

As I`ve been leafing through the book, I realised I`d had Danny Dreyer`s epiphany myself. Not quite on the road to Damascus but on a long slow run last September. My feet were protesting just a tad back then-Achilles stuff rather than my subsequent marathon ligament and joint crap-and I just felt I`d have to really really relax my feet, relax my body as I ran. And, even more critically, shut the hell up and totally concentrate on what my body was trying to say. Didn`t go down too well with my running buddy at the time but it sure worked for me. After a mile or two of niggles, my feet co operated again, and, as the run went on and I hit an almost meditative frame of mind, enjoying the rhythm of the whole thing, have to say I didn`t feel I`d run twenty miles at all. Just felt really really good.

Well, I`m plainly not in that position in the past few weeks. Yep, recovery of feet from marathon really has taken a long time. I haven`t signed up for physio or anyone else beyond getting orthotics for work wear and walking. I`m just tuning into what my feet want. Doing whatever running they can manage and, from a foot recovery point of view, that approach seems to have worked for me. But at the cost of speed and possibly endurance.

Yesterday was meant to be a long run. Ran with leaden legs a total of 3.20 miles. Hated every second of it.

So, last night, I dug into Danny Dreyer`s book in ernest. Learnt how to change my posture in order to improve my running form. Also decided, even though I`d use the Garmin to time my run, I wasn`t going to fuss about time, just really relax, almost hit into meditative mode and just enjoy the whole movement.

Another factor was the route. I didn`t plan to go to a particular place or distance. But I did start off from a completely different part of town, with the intention of just following my nose around the place.” Relax and enjoy” were the key words.

And I did. I was barely breathing. Just moving along, tuning into the forward lean and the back stride that Danny recommends. My pace was slow-real slow. But I didn`t care. I`ve plenty of time to get faster. Aim was only to enjoy myself. No mega push. I`d say my heart was barely breathing. And all of me felt good.

It`s been good to get used to the Garmin too. I like that it keeps a record of everything and now, that it and Chi Running are new to me. I might as well start at a very low base line. Which I have. Pace was just shy of eleven minutes. Distance 4.50 miles. And yep, I enjoyed every second of it.

The runner in the above pic is Irish athlete Catherina McKiernan. She does a lot of work with Chi Running. She has weekend workshops on the topic and I emailed her about attending one of them. Won`t quote her directly here now, as I haven`t sought her permission, but I did get a delightful and lengthy email back from the lady herself all about the whole Chi Running workshop and how it might help with my foot problems. I am sorely tempted to attend. I really want to run the marathon again this year, really want to do it injury free and under 4.30 minutes.I just don`t have €110-€150 on a workshop right now.

So, my recessionista solution has been to invest in the paperback from the originator of the Chi Running principles. It`s not quite the same as having Catherina analyse my form on video and in person, but `twill have to do for now.

I`m hoping I`ll tune into some of my September LSR form, time and distance, over the next couple of monthsa and all with even less effort.

Anyway, tonight`s run has been encouraging. So, we`ll see.


4 thoughts on “Chi Running

  1. I’ve been learning Chi Running as part of my training for the London marathon with the same target time as you – I’ve realised today that since I started Chi running I’ve never once woken up with aching legs like I used to. I think it’s a really great technoque, a good way of running without thinking too much about the running, most of the time I’ve focussing on technique! Today I was running up a hill 6x in succession – magical focuses made it so much easier. Keep up the hard work, it will be worth it

      • Yes I have, I went to a taster session at my gym and was amazed by the transformation after only 1 hour. So started training with the guy who ran them.
        Unfortunately he’s based in London, so not so good for you!
        A workshop would be great as it meanssomeone points out where you’re going wrong. Even now I think I’m doing something/adjusting part of my posture and actually I’ve not!
        If you’re ever in London I’d highly recommend looking him up – Gray Craws

  2. I’ve read the book by Danny Dreyer too, its a good read and I try to follow the principles in my long runs. Hope you are practising the leaning forward! 🙂

I love reading, and responding to, your comments. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s