Running an injury free marathon is a challenge in today’s running world. There are far too many runners that hurt themselves before even competing for their marathon or they have damaged their body through improper technique that when they run the 26.2, those same damaged joints take such a beating that they ultimately give up.
What is Chi Running?
Chi Running is perspective on running that incorporates principles of Tai Chi meshed with running. Chi Running is much different from the common perspective on running which is “no pain, no gain”. Instead, it involves a method of running that revolves around using your body’s core to run rather than individual muscles pushing you towards the finish line; a holistic approach if you will. The major differentiation is that Chi Running is an injury free method of running. With its holistic approach to running, the possibility of getting injured decreases dramatically.
Danny Dreyer, an ultra-distance runner, developed this method to teach runners how to relax their bodies while running long distances. The basic premise of Chi Running is to use the force of gravity to drive your forward.
To help implement Chi Running, there are basic principles and skills that will aid in the relaxation of the body and will allow a runner’s body to run longer distances without discomfort.
Chi Running Foundation Principles
There are three concepts that Danny prescribes runners to live by:
- The first principle is called “Needle and Cotton” which illustrates the importance of centering a runner’s energy and relieving the rest of your body of stress and placing it in a state of relaxation; this makes the muscles soft as “cotton”. This principle emphasizes the proper posture and technique when running.
- The second principle is “Gradual Process” which promotes the adaptation of dynamic training stages for a race. As the weekly mileage progressively increases, your body will be challenged in ways that it has never been challenged before; this principle makes that transition smoother.
- The third principle is “Balance in Motion” which stems from the concept of yin and yang. This principle sheds light on why you must balance your body’s physical movements. While running, the body moves up and down, left and right and may sway in awkward directions because of weak/tired muscles. This principle helps teach why maintaining balance while running is important.
Chi Running’s Four Chi Skills
With the foundation now built, the four Chi Running skills build on that foundation to hone your skills as a marathoner and as a runner.
- The first Chi Running skills in “Focusing Your Mind”. There are different perspectives on this topic as there are runners that prefer to doze off and think about “nothing”. Danny believes that your mind should be focused on your body to detect the hundreds, if not thousands of signals it sends out throughout your runs.
- The second Chi Running skill is “Body Sensing”. Once your mind is focused on your running, you can direct that focus to sense the alerts your body springs up. Without being able to sense sensations in your body as you’re running, you won’t be able to make the necessary adjustments when they count most.
- The third Chi Running skill is “Breathing”. You might be thinking, “Really?? This chapter is probably just a section to make the book look thicker.” I believe that this topic alone has helped me overcome a lot of moments during my runs that I felt I was just going to give up. Learning to breathe efficiently will aid in helping managing your energy while running and conserve that extra willpower to run that extra mile when it counts most.
- The last Chi Running skill is “Relaxing”. Once you are physically and mentally focused on running, you will actually enjoy running more. There are parts of your runs that just feel like a chore. As you learn to relax, running becomes more of a therapeutic event rather than just another run.
I wanted to get to the bottom of why runners aren’t running injury free marathons so I went to the experts. I found Danny Dreyer through his best-selling ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running
book to get to the bottom of it.
I wanted to ask these questions while sharing them with you. So, I interviewed him!
Interview with Danny Dreyer
In the 39 minute and 40 seconds interview with Danny Dreyer, I grill him on these revealing questions:
- The first and MOST important component to focus on when running your marathon.
- If you miss out on learning the key to mastering this component of your training, that little ache in your knee could become a surgery you wish you could’ve wished you prevented earlier.
- Why you need to become more aware of your body through Danny’s concept of “body sensing”
- Spending hundreds of dollars on shoes and expecting to be injury free is a myth! Listen to Danny’s opinion on shoes and if it’s all a load of bull.
- Much, much more!
Listening to the passion in Danny’s voice really gives you an idea of how much he really cares about helping runners run without injuries and live a healthy life.
Having trouble listening to the interview? Listen to it here: