ChiRunning - Maximize your energy to get the most out of running.
Running is tough, but ChiRunning can make it easier on you. How so, you might ask. It's simple really. A lot of runners have bad running form. ChiRunning focuses on correcting poor form so you can harness all of your energy or "Chi" into a smooth stride.
Now, I am probably as far as you can get from eastern philosophies and beliefs living here in Middle America, but I do buy into the core message. To run faster with less effort, you need to have better form.
I own the DVD and the book, and they both helped me to focus on running smoother and quicker. I have struggled with sore knees in my running career. The focus on form, and the process of getting into good shape gradually helped me to be knee pain free so far. You can see more information on the book and DVD here.
Some of the key principles of ChiRunning are as follows.
1. Run relaxed, but with good posture.
2. Don't land on your heals. Your whole foot should lightly strike the ground at the same time.
3. Run with a slightly forward body lean.
4. Use your core muscles to hold your torso steady.
Here is a brief video showing the basics.
1. It all starts with running relaxed, which actually helps you run fast. On a distance run, you shouldn't strain your way through a run. There is no need to power and push your way through it. The best analogy I took away from this is "a needle surrounded by cotton." This means, keep your spine straight, and the rest of your body should be fluid.
2. You shouldn't striking the ground with your heal first. This is something all runners should work against. I worked hard this summer on correcting that part of my form, and now I land on my whole foot at the same time. Your foot as the first thing that absorbs the impact of each stride. The more surface area you can create on each stride, the less stress the rest of your legs and body have to take.
3. I already ran with a slight body lean, and this is part of the principals of ChiRunning. You are going forward, and running is basically a controlled fall.
4. Strengthen your core muscles so you can hold the correct posture. This goes back to the needle in cotton analogy. The core muscles hold your spine at a slight angle. This contributes to the controlled fall. A strong core also takes pressure off of your back.
It is impossible to explain all the principles here. The best thing you can do if you doubt it, is to try it. There is a reason for all the hype surrounding it. ChiRunning works. Running should help you get healthy, not hurt. Running with better form can prevent injury. I am a believer simply because my knees have been pain free since I have focused more on my foot strike and posture. Try it and see for yourself.
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