ChiRunning and Ultras
Arpan asked me to tell a little about ChiRunning here.
Many people might have heard about ChiRunning, but in my experience there are various degress of understanding it.
when I fist heard about a couple of years ago, I thought that it is another "new Age" approach to running; so I was not really interested.
After my first 6 day Race I suffered from a stiff back on the last day and I wondered where it came from, so I bought the ChiRunning Book and was fascinated by the Running Technique desrcibed in there; but I had to realize that it was difficult to learn it just from the Book. I thought I had it, but in my first 3100 Mile Race in 2009 I had to realize that my back pain was still there and even made me stop at a certain point.
After that experience I decided to learn ChiRunning with a Workshop, but I had to find out that there was nobody in Germany teaching it!
So I had the choice to either go to Holland or Ireland for a Workshop; I took Ireland because I don´t speak dutch and because flying there was cheaper than taking the train to Holland.
In Irleand Catherina McKiernan is teaching ChiRunning, she holds the Irish Marathon Record for the Women and won Berlin and London Marathon in her career, from which she retired a couple of years ago. her homepage: http://www.catherinamckiernan.com/
Her workshop was great and I could feel the "ChiLean" the first time there.
She also was part of the World Harmony Run in Ireland.
It was during the workshop that I decided to become a certified ChiRunning Instruktor myself and start teaching in Germany. I signed up for the Instruktor Training in Mai 2010 in Amsterdam and got my Certification in Oktober 2010. I learned from Danny Dreyer the founder of ChiRunning.
I started teaching January 2011 and had already over 60 people in my Workshops with great results and good feedback.
So what is ChiRunning?
ChiRunning combine the fokusses of TaiChi with Running.
It is a method to learn a running style that is very efficient, takes the pounding out of the running and prevents injuries.
It uses gravity for propulsion and not the muscles of the legs and feet; because of that the muscles can relax and if you use less muscles you will use less energy and running feels more effortless
The Four components of ChiRunning are:
1.Proper Alignment of the Body while Running, by using the lower abdominals or core muscles. The pelvic plays a key role here, it is important to keep the pelvic level; this will help to keep a good posture and the body structure will be supported by the bones and ligaments and not the muscles.
This helped me a lot to get rid of back pain while running; now my back is always loose!
2. The Lean:
If you have proper alignment you can lean from the ankles to use gravity for propulsion. This takes a lot of the pressure from the lower legs (shins and calves), because you can relax your legs while running and will need the legs only for temorary support, but not for propulsion. the faster you run, the more you lean. It is important not to bend at the waist as this will put pressure on the back. The lean looks more like the SkiJumpers.
The Lean is important to prevent ShinSplins and Achilles Problems. It also enables us to land on our whole foot (Midfoot); then our foot can work best.
The stride will open up to the back and not in front of you, this will prevent heel striking
3. Picking up your feet:
In ChiRunning we only pick up our feet and don´t push off with the toes. Pushing of with the toes puts a lot of pressure on the plantar tendon, the achilles tendon and the joints in the toes. THis can lead to injuries. Because of the lean the pushing off is no longer necessary, this leads to relaxed legs and feet while running.
In ChiRunning 50% of the work is done with the arms, the arms should be bent at 90 degress and the main impulse should go to back and not to the front.
Never cross the centre line of you Body.
Of course this is just a short explanation, there are many exercices to learn all of the components.
Please refer to the ChiRunning Book or www.chirunning.com
German speakers can also visit my website: www.leichtlaufen.de
Enjoy the Running!
- Thank you for the advice and the story of how you got involved in Chi Running. I am sure many of us 'die-hard' runners can use a change of style and efficiency in our running, especially if we race a lot.
I was wondering how the style of running shoes effects the way we propel ourselves off of our feet, how we land, and how they can effect our efficient Chi running style like 'the Lean' you mentioned.
Specifically, do the five finger shoes which offer very little cushion or support and force us to push off of our forefoot more, make Chi Running style more difficult or less effective?
Sorry to complicate things here but any advice for any of us is well appreciated. Perhaps we should just take a course with you when you come this summer, after the 'Big Race', that is.
I try to shed some light on the subject.
First of all minimal shoes and ChiRunning perfectly go together!
I have been running since last summer in my Nike Frees and Saucony Kinvara which are both kind of minimal, also not as minimal as the Five Fingers.
I think what is really important is to keep in my that change takes time.
So if switching to a more minimal shoes do it with gradual progress, otherwise you might run into an Injury. And I heard of quite some cases in our community.
On the other hand it seems to me that just changing the shoe does not necessary mean to change the running technique!
Change of technique takes conscious effort.
For example the five fingers might prevent you from heel striking,and you knee problems might be gone but if you start landing on your forefoot and push of hard with your toes, your calves, achilles and plantar tendon might be suffering now from the extra burden.
On the other hand I also saw people "overstriding" with five fingers, which means they where reaching out to much in front of their hips and then they have to land on their heels.
Smaller steps and higher cadence is the answer, if you can lean into the run, your stride will open up behind you and you can add a nice pelvic rotation to use the force of the road coming at you.
The foot works best if you land with the whole foot, there are two arches in the foot, on the inner side and the methatarsal area.
As we all know, brides, or aqueducts are a very stable contsruction, but in order to work they have to be supported on both sides, that why it is important to land with the whole foot and distribute the weight; this can only happen if we land under our centre of gravity, so never step past your hips!
I was thinking myself to offer a free ChiRunning Workshop , maybe 3hours for the SCMT members in NY after the Race in Summer.
I guess the best day would be Saturday, 6th of August, around 11 o clock, so there is time for breakfast after our weekly two mile race.
Because it is always to talk or write about something, but these things have to be experienced!
Finally this is a link to articles on Chirunning.com about minimal running shoes:
Enjoy running in Spring!