While it might seem like we were born to run, our sedentary lifestyle and shoe dependence have interfered with our innate ability to run. Ultra-marathoner Danny Dreyer has spent many hours contemplating the physics and physicality of running. From his hands on research he created Chi Running.
Blending the principles of T'ai Chi with forward locomotion, Dreyer has developed (or possibly found again) a technique to make running feel effortless. The principles are simple, allow your body to relax and let gravity pull you forward, and because running in the Chi method helps protect against injury you can hopefully spend your lifetime perfecting and playing with your running form.
Learn the first lesson of the technique when you
The first rule of Chi Running is posture. When your body is aligned, hips over ankles, shoulders over hips, neck long with a relaxed chin, gravity can pull you forward — all you have to do is control the fall that accompanies each footstep. To help maintain your posture in motion, you have to engage your low abs. When you run, the abs two inches below your navel should be taut keeping your pelvis from shifting side to side. Since running is about forward motion, you don't want to waste any energy in other directions. The other keystone to this technique is striking the ground with your mid-foot, rather than your toe or your heel. By making contact with the ground with your mid-foot, you have much less force impacting the joints of your legs.
Putting these elements into practice helps you become more efficient, so you waste less energy and are less prone to injury — two major pluses in my book. Dreyer wants to keep runners running and wants to help them love this sport. Chi Running is like a moving meditation and a mind body activity. To learn more you can take a workshop with Danny or certified Chi Running instructor. You can also take advantage of many educational media on Chi Running from books to CDs.
I am taking a Chi Running workshop soon and will definitely have more to share on the subject soon. Anyone out there a Chi Runner? Tell me more in the comments section below.