Why Chi Running?

Chi Running by Danny Dreyer

This post was one of those that was hard to write, because it forced me to really look at why I have decided to use Chi Running practice to help me run more efficiently.

After all making a commitment to use one program over all the others that are out there is a pretty big deal.

This is the second time that I have decided to use Chi Running, the first time I was not ready to actually give it a realistic chance to succeed and moved on after little more than a month of using it.

Fortunately for me and often unfortunately for my body, the biggest issue that I have, is that I have gotten older over the last five years. I am learning the hard way that my now older body is no longer forgiving of a running form that has multiple issues with its running mechanics.

So in my infinite wisdom, I have decided it is time to fix some as many of those issues with my running mechanics that I can. I going to do this despite recent studies that seem to indicate that runners screwing around with their running form may not have as much success as the programs and their proponents would have us think.

Too Many Options

However, attempting to wade through the myriad of coaches, methods, studies, books, magazines, blogs, websites or programs out there that claim they can improve your running is daunting to say the least.

Once you get beyond all the business models (they are all in the business of selling their version of “proper” running form), marketing hype, vocabulary differences, philosophies, etc., and get down to what all these different businesses are basing their running improvement programs on:

  • improved running posture (run tall, how to hold your arms, running with all parts of the body going in the same direction, etc.)
  • use your core
  • a lean
  • a shorter stride where you land under your hips
  • increased stride rate/cadence
  • increase speed or mileage slowly
  • use a variety of training runs to achieve your goals

The biggest differences seem to be in the process each of these businesses use to take you from your present flawed running form to their “new and improved” running form.

There are many runners and “experts” out there who don’t believe that changing your running form programs work and that the biggest solution to running better was simply to…

“run more”

then you will be a better runner.

Personally, I would love to simply “run more” and my body would probably eventually find its most efficient running form – if I was able to run consistently.

Unfortunately, my problem is that I haven’t been able to run consistently. The most common result of my running more – is to run, get injured, rehab/let things heal and then repeat the cycle, especially over the last five years.

That is the reason I need something that will provide me with more structure and focus on finding that most efficient for me running form versus the hodge-podge mess that I have used and has not worked for me.

Why Chi Running?

From what I have seen all the different methods have their pros/cons and it is up to the consumer (runner/me) to decide which method best meets my present needs and goals.

My reasons for choosing Chi Running are:

  1. Familiarity – I started the program before and have a working knowledge of what is going on.
  2. Philosophy – I like the Eastern philosophy behind Chi Running and while some scoff at the woo factor that it brings to the table, it feels right to me.
  3. Competitiveness – I am finally accepting that I ain’t all that good of a runner, even when I am not injured. At this point in my life, my best running is far behind me, but I still harbor fantasies of racing well – at least in my age group. If I can run consistently, the speed I have left will be there.
  4. Long-Term View – When I was researching which program would be better for me, Danny Dreyer was speaking in an interview I watched and this quote stuck in my head. I may not have captured it perfectly, but this is my interpretation of what he said and it really hit home for me.

    A performance based mindset can’t be sustained indefinitely, sometimes have to let it go and allow things be how they are, which is not always how you think  they are or want them to be.

  5. Journey – As I have gotten older, I have finally begun to realize that sometimes the journey is as important and sometimes more important than reaching the goal itself. What happens along the way often changes who we are and how we do things.

Once I got beyond the marketing hype and into the substance of Chi Running, I found the philosophy and methods best matched the direction I want to go. Running is a part of who I am and is more to me than a physical activity that I do.

I have found that you have to put in the time and effort to improve our running beyond where you are now and it will not happen overnight. There will be failures, head scratching, backsliding, in addition to successes. Any improvements I make in running efficiency will need to be earned and become a part of the runner I am and will be.

A question that Danny Dreyer asked in one of his videos and resonated with me:

What can you learn from your running besides putting your shoes on and going fast?

I think that is the right question for me and one that I want to answer.

The reality is that

I have to believe at age 60 there is a program or system that will help me improve my running mechanics to the point where I can carrying my fat arse down the road, trail or track in the most efficient way possible for many more years.

There are many out there who are making a business out of improving a runner’s form, who are willing to help you achieve their version “perfect” running form – for a price. Chi Running is the form improvement business that appears to be the best fit for me.

However, no program/method/practice will make my running effortless, that it is marketing hype, which is shared by most of the other businesses, I looked at. I chose Chi Running for reasons far beyond the hype and all those great testimonials of how great it is. Although if they didn’t have them you would wonder where they were.

Running is a lot of repetitive work, where you have to get your arse moving and actually do the work to see any improvement or even to simply maintain what you have earned before.

Will I follow Chi Running implicitly without question or change – nope.

I am me and that means that I am not the same as anyone else. There will be times along my journey to that more efficient form that I am searching for, where I will find something else works a bit better for me than what is presented in Chi Running. I will add it to my practice, while incorporating whatever it is into my interpretation of the philosophy or principles of Chi Running.

Through my research I know that Chi Running is not for everyone, but it does seem like a good fit for the kind of runner that I want to be moving forward.

Who knows maybe I will even find some answers to Danny’s question.

What can I learn from my running besides putting my shoes on and going fast?


8 thoughts on “Why Chi Running?

  1. Thanks for sharing, Harold. At 60+ I am very much a newby to running, and feel that my style could do with a bit finessing. I will have to see if this book is available here.

    1. Good luck with your running, it is a great sport and you earn what you get out of it, because you have to do the work to improve, no can do it for you. Form is very individual, but there are some best practices that should be taken into account. As a new runner, if you learn them now you don’t have to try to change things later and will have fewer injuries and be a more consistent runner. You have to look around to see which of the running form improvement programs fit your needs and pocketbook – there is always a cost. 🙂 Good luck and let me know how you do.

  2. Yes, a lot of experts with sound advice — like having multiple watches and therefore never knowing exactly what time it is. Since I adopted Chi-Running as my coaching guide for running mechanics, I have never had an injury directly related to running — that is to say, since I got the mechanics RIGHT. I have injured myself running, like stepping in a hole (it was hidden by the shadow of a tree in the dark morning hours as I ran around the old city wall of Avignon), and stumbled hard on buckled asphalt in the wee hours (a theme developing) along the Coulee Verte), but never simply because of running — once I got the mechanics right. Learning to listen and feel what my body was doing in every aspect of the running stride was the most challenging part. The journey is a part of the destination, always. Enjoy, Harold.

    1. Mark – Some of the experts are that in their own mind, but they have a voice, an online store and have a good following, but their plans/programs are based more on the shoulders of others (which is fine, but acknowledge that) or have stuff to differentiate themselves from others that make you scratch your head. My running mechanics have always been a bit odd and this latest setback I have had caused me to finally shut things down and do the re-boot. I am hoping to mirror your success of diminishing my injury-prone ways – the overuse side of the equation, but being the clumsy clutz that I am, I will still have those oh crap injuries that just happen. The journey continues and I am enjoying or at least I will be when this hip issues finally calms down and I can get serious about this new runner I will become hehehehe

  3. Great post and really looking forward to your journey of self-discovery 😀

    Couple of thoughts:
    – Experts: as a tech ‘early adopter’ I got into doing tech reviews on websites very early, and was seen as an ‘expert’, when in reality I was a guy who played with gadgets and liked games. Similarly, I look at these ‘certified running coaches’ and what is required to get there … and it honestly isn’t all that much. Some use it as part of their own path to greater understanding and like to help others … while too many consider themselves ‘running doctors’ after a weekend certifications and have delusions of grandeur. Too often these people are in their 20’s and have no clue about what happens to the body as it ages. Or much else, for that matter …

    – ‘Run More’ – the funny thing is, I historically had an uneven wear pattern … then suddenly when I started cranking the miles, everything got better. I looked yesterday at a pair of shoes with ~1000 miles or so on them, looking pretty worn, but evenly worn. But again – I don’t consider myself normal in that regard. Most people would just have gotten hurt.

    Good luck!

    1. Mike – It has been quite a journey so far and it just continues to get better. 😉 I am wary of self-proclaimed experts, I tend to believe that if you are good, your credentials (yes, they are part of the deal), past history, work and reputation will precede you. I notice that many experts are more than willing to help others, whereas too many are asking what is in it for me. However, I do understand that at some point everyone has to make a living, it is just that some are so over-the-top about doing so that it turns me off to their spiels.

      I am so jealous of your being able to “run more” I do believe that is the answer to most running issues – unless your mechanics are blooee (real technical term for screwed up) and cause even more issues when you run more and get older. Actually, this changing my posture thing is causing a few issue too…trying to get everything to align properly and stay there, well let’s just say old aches and pains is whiney as hell for now. But it has to be done so I too can get 1,000 miles from a pair of shoes hehehehe – I wish 🙂

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