Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Reads: ChiRunning by Danny and Katherine Dreyer

I clearly remember everything about the first time I ready ChiRunning.  I had just started running and had taken a week off to heal from my first bout of Bursitis.   With my knee elevated and covered in ice - I poured through the entire book in a couple of days and dreamed of the moment I would be able to put it into practice.

ChiRunning promises a new way to run that will be much easier on your body and allow you to run faster with less effort while avoiding injury.  It seems like a big claim to make, but Dreyer lays it out very logically in his book. In all honesty, though, the ChiRunning form echoes many other "natural" running forms like Pose and Natural Running so ultimately, pick the one that works for you but know that they are all roughly the same idea.

The basic principles behind the ChiRunning form are:
  • Run tall
  • Forward lean
  • Mid-foot strike
  • Core engagement
  • Relax
The book also clearly states that it is best used in conjunction with the ChiRunning DVD. I recently found the DVD in a local running store and when I have time, I plan to fully engross myself in it.  I did take a clinic last spring that made the principles a bit easier for me to understand and apply.

In the end, the demands of infant twins and the busy-ness of 2010 engulfed me and I didn't apply as much as I wanted to.  I did, however, really enjoy the book and have applied various aspects of the ChiRunning principles into my running. 
  • For a time I ran with a clip on metronome to bring my cadence to 180
  • I love the recovery exercise of laying with your feet elevated against a wall after a long run
  • I went from being a serious heel striker to running comfortably mid-foot
The areas I found challenging to apply were:
  • Forward lean - I can't seem to do it without appearing hunched over and feeling pressure in my lower back.  This tells me I am doing it wrong
  • Core engagement - my core is really weak and I recognize that.  It's a work a progress.
Still, two years later, ChiRunning really intrigues me and I am planning to work more on my form this summer so I will be dedicating a great deal of time to improving.   I do recommend this book for any runner, though, because I believe value can be found in reading different interpretations of every sport.  I am sure you will find that you are an improved runner simply for having read it.

3 comments:

  1. I recently saw a copy of Chi Marathon at Indigo and am considering buying a copy for my Kindle.

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  2. I am so ordering this book!! It looks awesome!!

    I also have twins! b/g and they are 3 years old!!

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  3. i'm taking a clinic in pose method which sounds very similar to chi running and i totally hear you on the leaning part...still can't get used to it and run to far back to really take advntage of gravity! work in progress...

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