The Chi of Running – a New Way to Avoid Injury

by DavalosMcCormack on October 28, 2008

I have run most of my life, and while I’ve never been crazy about it running has always been part of my exercise routine. But then a few years ago I started having a lot of injuries. It almost stopped me completely. Until I discovered Chi Running.

Let’s back up a little first. The injuries were of the wear and tear variety – pulled muscles, strained this and that – but increasingly I was having problems with my calf muscles. They seemed to tighten up easily and strain far more than they should.

Then my older brother Eamonn mentioned he was having similar problems. He’s smarter than me – not hard I know – and went to the doctor to see what was wrong. The doctor told him he suffered from a condition known as “claudication” that was caused by a poor blood supply to the legs.

It made sense. Our dad also used to have trouble with his calf muscles so clearly there was a family history here.

The solution was relatively easy. Get a pair of pressure stockings and wear them when I run. They help keep the calf muscle tight and secure, reducing the risk of injury.

The only problem was the only pair I could find were knee high and white. I looked like a particularly hairy Catholic schoolgirl. Not a pretty image. Still, by wearing leggings when running it was easy to hide the offending socks.

That helped ease the problem but didn’t altogether fix it. That’s when I discovered Chi Running. It’s a remarkably simple concept. Instead of having your legs do all the hard work when you are running you let gravity take up the slack, and just use your legs for support.

Here’s how it works. Stand up straight so that your head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are all lined up, one above the other. Then lean forward from the ankles, as if you are a ski-jumper, leaning into the wind. The rest of your body should stay straight and lined up (you’ll need to activate your core muscles and hold your stomach in to make this work).

As you lean forward you reach a certain point where your body just naturally starts to fall forward. See what happens? You automatically move your leg out to stop yourself falling. That’s essentially it. By keeping your body ahead of your feet, your legs continually move to stop you falling.

It sounds odd, but it’s actually a remarkably natural way of running. It’s much smoother than most other methods and really works in reducing injury, pain, fatigue and all sorts of other running-related problems.

Why does it work. Well, it’s a blend of T’ai Chi and physics. I could explain at length but the best thing to do is go to Chi Running and find out for yourself.

The beauty of it is that it doesn’t cost anything to do, and by improving your form it makes running so much easier and less painful.

It’s also quite meditative. You spend so much time focusing on how to do it, on making sure that all the different elements are working together, that before you know it the run is over.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: