A new phenomenon has hit the ground running (literally) over the past decade – a technique called ChiRunning which is designed to be a more natural and efficient form of exercise than traditional road running.
This is not to say that the myth that traditional running causes more pain or injury is true, but it’s all about the technique. That’s what Chi running strives to teach people and it’s been taken up everywhere since it began in the US in 1999.
Ujiti Channing from the popular running store Run and Become in Cardiff says “it’s all about learning to run without using your legs” and using the forces around you like the pull of gravity to run “lighter”. People attend the sessions to discuss injuries they endured from road running and try to combine the teachings of Chi with their own style and it’s been very successful.
Take a look at this video by the founder of Chi running, Danny Dreyer:
There is also Chi Walking which again, teaches you how to open up your joints before doing any exercise to avoid injury. This is a great concept particularly if you are a beginner or you run regularly on your own. There is no “correct” form of running as everyone runs differently but with a few tips and advice on the best way to avoid injury, you are more likely to keep at it.
Many people who practice Chi still have an injury and have seen them improve. Take a look at this blog from Laura Houston, who has recently completed a successful 5k and puts it all down to the principles of Chi.
As Jane Coker, told me in an interview a few weeks back, runners can be notoriously lazy when it comes to practicing other forms of exercise. I try to combine my running with yoga to avoid wearing certain joints and muscles down from running alone but particularly when it comes to professional runners, they only have that one passion.
As it can be so easy to get injured out on the roads, the principles of Chi that include focusing on posture, spine and core positions, energy and movements, sounds like a perfect way to keep runners running for as long as they wish.