My Philosophy

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when we have footsteps on the moon!"

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Marathon Mini Series: Chi Running

I think it is safe to say that this challenge would have been impossible if I had not discovered Chi Running.

Running used to be a kind of therapy for me, until I got injured, bringing back all of the stress that I left with every single stride on the pavements and trails. These injuries eventually got so common that I gave up. They were not always the same injuries either; knee pain, back pain, shin splints, ankle pain. The list goes on.

How then, can I now even consider running a marathon? The answer came from a book I saw in a smoothie shop in San Francisco called "Chi Running". I saw it on the same day I went for a run and got shin splints after just 2 miles and was a little down in the dumps. I would have got anything that could help, as it turned out I found the perfect thing to fix my problem!

So Chi Running is both a running technique and a running philosophy, both aimed at reducing your rate of injury from running and also gradually increasing the distance.

There are 10 components to the "Chi Running" principle:
  • Flexibility: Does not extend just to the muscles, but also the tendons, ligaments and joints. You move a lot more efficiently if your body is flexible, and it makes it easier for you to modify your technique if you get injuries
  • Posture: When running you need a good posture. If you're slouching too far forward you will use more energy holding yourself up. It also can restrict blood to your brain and other organs
  • Good Leg Motion: Overstriding in your running pace is one of the main causes of knee, hamstring and ankle injuries. When you land your feet just under your body it greatly decreases the force of the impact on your ankle
  • Cadence: Most people have too slow a cadence, a faster cadence helps to reduce the amount of time your foot spends on the ground. When your foot is on the ground when running it is enduring a 2-4G worth of pressure. The idea is to reduce this time by increasing your cadence. The ideal is 85 to 90 steps per minute
  • Body Sensing: This is a kind of self-analysis of your body after a run, and note everything down. If you notice some pain in your ankle or knee after a run then you can take steps to improve for your next run, and increase your recovery days if necessary
  • Mental Focus: This kind of goes without saying, but it is more than the focus you need to get through a long run, it takes a lot of mental focus to make an effective change. You need to re-educate your muscles and control them, this is the mental focus you need to change. Eventually your muscles will initiate your change naturally, and the battle is won
  • Coordination between halves: You should use roughly use 50% of your energy in your top half, most of this in your core so you keep a strong posture and a good twist in your top half. Good technique is when your top half and bottom half are working together instead of against each other
  • Good Breathing: Runners should use Belly Breathing instead of chest breathing, as chest breathing does not engage the most of the bottom (larger) half of the lungs, for that you need to expand your diaphragm. When you are fatigued, you will probably notice that your breathing is very fast and you don't actually take much air in, over time that will really reduce your capacity for running. Concentrate on expanding your diaphragm, especially when you're fatigued
  • Knee and Elbow Bends: It sounds counter-productive, but the more you bend your knee and elbow the less energy you will use. When they are bent they swing much easier, thus losing less energy in your stride.
  • Staying Relaxed: When you are relaxed you are less likely to strain a muscle, try to keep your muscles relaxed when running. This can be easily achieved with a smile, or a good song :)
So if you have any kind of problems with injuries when running check out this site, it helped me a lot.

Viel Spaß homies!


  1. Never really got on with this when I tried it, just leaned over too much I think and so my back started hurting. I just run normally now and that's fine. I think Chi running is as much mental as physical.

  2. It does have mental aspects too, like the self analysis and stuff. The lean can give back pain, and that is when you load the pressure of the lean on your lower back, those small ones weren't made for that, so you need to use your core and your glutes! I guess I was lucky that I was already working on them in parallel