Would you believe me if I told you that running a marathon is a piece of cake with the proper running form?
Sure, running can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be! You think you’ve perfected your running technique… but you’re probably wrong.
How do you know if you’re running the right way? Well, if:
- you’re prone to running injuries
- can’t seem to make any progress when it comes to picking up speed, or
- feel overwhelmingly tired after just a mile or two
… you’re doing it wrong.
I know what you’re thinking — how could that even be possible? “Isn’t running just running?” Coincidentally, that’s the same question we had for Danny Dreyer, founder of ChiLiving.
Dreyer has been teaching people how to move their bodies more efficiently for over 15 years. He bases his movement techniques off of the practice of TaiChi, which encourages movement from the center of the body. Believe it or not, running (and walking) effectively isn’t about how you move your arms or legs; it’s all about working from your core!
An ultra marathon runner, Dreyer took his first TaiChi class while in training for a 50 mile race (Yep, FIFTY.) You can’t be inefficient in the world of long distance running, so he was in search of a technique that’d allow him to run safer, faster and further. After just 1 class, he applied the wisdom he’d acquired from Chinese Martial Arts to his running form. Putting all the focus on his core, it didn’t even feel like he went for a run! Naturally, he ran 3 more miles and thought, “Wow, there’s really something to this.”
He was his own guinea pig for a while, and his success today is on-going proof that his experimenting from 17 years ago has paid off. Since uncovering this fitness gem back in 1999, Dreyer has taught over one million people how to run and walk effectively with his ChiRunning and ChiWalking books. He’s sold over 450,000 copies and personally coaches people all over the world.
Living the ChiLifestyle is a process of of hitting the reset button, going back to how the body’s mechanics worked for you when you were a kid. Children naturally run with a lean, accelerating by falling forward instead of using their legs as their main source of momentum. Most people run really well at an early age, since they use the natural flow of their bodies. As you go through life, sit in a chair for +20 years, break a few bones, suffer a back injury, agitate your muscles… well, let’s just say things change overtime. Once you’ve packed on a few decades of damage, your body won’t operate the same.
One of the first things a ChiRunning or ChiWalking instructor will teach you is how to align your body to achieve the perfect form. In addition to focusing on your core, ChiRunning principles are designed around having good posture. Simply put: if your posture is poor, your mechanics will suck!
Think about the way you sit in a chair: your back and neck grow tired after a few minutes of leaning over your computer like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but everything is fine and dandy when you’re sitting up straight. When you slouch in your office chair for hours at a time, you’re making your muscles work harder and you’ll end up exhausted at the end of the day.
Running works the same way. Your body won’t quit on you mid-run if your able to align your body to go the distance. If you have poor posture from sitting slumped forward in front of your body all day, you’ll go home with a sore neck. If you have poor posture while you’re running, you’re more likely to go home with an injury.
ChiLiving is all about listening to your body. Surprisingly, most people:
- Don’t know when to stop eating
- Don’t know when to get active
- Don’t know when their uncomfortable
… at least not until they have to suffer the consequences! If you learn how to respond to what you’re body is telling you, you’ll be able to avoid a heap-load of crooked necks, weak knees, and sore backs. The mindfulness aspect is what sets ChiLiving apart. Doctors will train you to have stronger muscles by strength training because, well, that’s their only solution! ChiLiving actually corrects the issue by teaching you to move in a way where you’re no longer creating the problem.
ChiRunning works to put an end to misguided fitness tactics. Everyone goes to the gym to get a strong core, but no one is actually applying their core training! Sure, gym-made 6-Pack Abs may enhance your love life, but what about your health and well-being? Jumping up and down on boxes and tugging on ropes is fun and all, but the best strength training comes from practicing natural muscle movement. ChiLiving teaches you to train your core to help you move, sit, stand, carry things, and perform a long list of other actions you actually do in real life.
How do you relax the moving parts and strengthen the core while you run? According to Dreyer, “You should only use your leg muscles to pick up your feet and keep you from falling. Rely on the momentum you create from pushing your core forward. Your legs should always swing out behind you.” This helps eliminate impact and overuse. Dreyer shows people how to run smoothly ALONG the ground, instead of running themselves into it.
Outside of the ChiLiving team, no one seems to be teaching people how to work on their technique as they increase their milage. This takes the element of injury out of the picture. With the help of a trusted Medical Advisory Board, ChiLiving has become an ideal fitness solution for people all over the world. Some doctors have even prescribed Dreyer’s books to their patients!
The next time you go for a walk, pretend like you’re sitting up in a chair and bring your shoulders right in front of your hips. You’ll feel your core working with every step! If you want the full run-down on how to transform your running form to conquer longer distances, check out Dreyer’s ChiMarathon publication (which happens to be his personal favorite), or subscribe to the ChiLiving blog for more information about moving efficiently!