Going Backwards to Move Forward

Right now MY running really sucks and to be honest it has for a while. It has been inconsistent at best, fraught with minor injuries and setbacks that have not allowed me to do many of the things that I wanted to do this year.


I know what you are thinking another Harold post on how he is going to change, become a better runner and all that other horse shit that I usually blather on about.

This most recent malady – not really an injury, but enough to make things miserable when I run, has lingered for longer than I want it too. However, the more I have thought about things, it might be just what I needed.

What in the hell are you talking about?

The past few weeks of very little running have made me focus more on what I want from MY running, not your running, not Runner’s World’s running, not the running that all too many books talk about, not anyone else’s running.

What do I want from MY running?

I might have some answers, but the biggest thing is that…I still am not totally sure, I am still figuring it out and that is being quite honest.


All I know is that running makes me happy, even when it is not always pleasurable (there is a HUGE difference between something making you happy and something giving you pleasure) and it is something that I plan on doing until I can’t any longer.

Going Backward

Back in 2011 I got Chi Running as a Christmas present and I read the book in about 4 days, then attempted to incorporate some the ideas into my running that I felt were pertinent to me, over the course of the next month or so. Unfortunately, I was more interested in upping my mileage, doing running shoe reviews and getting my blog business off the ground, than doing work that Chi Running required. I fairly quickly let go of attempting to “do” Chi Running and went back to “just do it running”, with periods of attempting something different.

Well, I got to reading some of my old blog entries from that time last week and realized that I had been running consistently. When I read many of the comments on the book review about Chi Running blog post that I wrote back then, it really piqued my interest again.



Enough that I got a digital copy of the book and have re-read almost all of it over the past two days.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Many of the techniques that I had started to learn, were ones that I still use. It wasn’t so much that they were special or novel, it was more the way they were presented, made sense, focused on where, you the runner were actually at and took a long-term view of your running.

Quality over quantity is something that I noticed a lot.

There are no short-cuts and it does take a lot of work to follow the Chi Running path and yes, I still have a feeling that attempting to do the Chi Running practice only from the book is fairly complex and not very realistic to only attempt it that way. However, there are more videos up on YouTube, there is a Chi Running App available that has video included and yes, I will be getting the Chi Running log book.

I think those things will help me get the basics of what I need to learn and then continue work on improving things that I will need to keep working on. At some point I think going to a live workshop would help clear up any other question that I have about Chi Running.

In other words, I have to embrace and be open to the changes that are necessary to use the Chi Running program.

Actually I don’t see that I have too much choice in the matter if I want to keep running for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, back in 2012 I was not ready to reset my running to the point that would have been necessary to embrace Chi Running at that time, now it is not really a choice.

Do I agree with everything in the book – probably not.

After all I know how to run and have been running for over 40 years. My running form is pretty much ingrained (even if it does suck in my opinion), it needs to be more efficient and not beat up my old body as much as it does.


Since I am basically starting over right now with my lowest mileage in years, it seems like a good time to hit the reset button and embrace Chi Running

We will see how it goes.

Who knows I might even try Tai Chi at some point, after all it is something that I have always wanted to do. 😉

3 thoughts on “Going Backwards to Move Forward

  1. Nice write-up! For me, Chi-Running is about running for life, with good form being the key. Never outrun your ability to maintain good form. Form, distance, speed in that order, always. Form is never sacrificed for the other two. It is about remaining injury-free. To know one is maintaining form, one must learn to listen to the body and to sense the body and its form at all times. Maintaining form is about maintaining the natural balance in the body (Danny’s “chi” portion of brand). As you know, any mechanical system even a little out of alignment wears rapidly, but when in alignment, the same mechanical system can go for a long time without breakdown.

    These are the things which Chi-Running has taught me, and it has worked for me. It takes time to learn to hear and sense your body, and discipline to know when to say “when”. The drills are helpful, and I found that keeping cadence with my arm swing is easier than doing it with my feet. I had an issue with lower back pain, but that turned out to be due to the fact that I was not engaging the core to keep the pelvis level. My other big issue was balance — favoring one side over the other (“loping”), which can be detected by uneven arm swing.

    Best wishes as you continue your journey.

    1. Thanks Mark

      Now I just have to figure out how to peel my foot off the ground without lifting. I know it has to do with the lean and gravity, but it is something that I haven’t figured out yet, but it will come. The rest is repetition and instilling muscle memory and remembering what you said in your first paragraph, which is something I do need to work 🙂 I will get there, but it is the journey that counts too. 🙂

  2. In most learning involved with running you have to go backwards to go forwards. Learning a new skill takes getting used to which will see a short term decline and long term gains if applied correctly.

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