What is ChiRunning?

If a combination of running and T’ai chi sounds like the perfect blend to you, then this is something that you will definitively be interested in. ChiRunning is precisely that - the use of T’ai chi while running in order to focus on relaxation, alignment, and proper form. It is a technique that changes the way running is done.

The principal claim of those who foster ChiRunning is that it helps reduce injuries.  This is done through the improvement of efficiency and performance. Ultimately, the running experience becomes pain-free and more enjoyable.

ChiRunning involves these main principles:

  • Correct alignment and posture
  • Relaxation
  • Midfoot strike landing
  • “Gravity assisted” forward lean
  • Improving core strength to enhance propulsion
  • Injury prevention through the connection between mind and body

Runners who want to engage into ChiRunning do not need to know about T’ai chi in order to perform. All that is needed is to know how to use one’s core to improve running.

The technique, which, according to users, is a "quasi-yoga-based style of running that is purported to reduce injury risk", was developed in 1999 by American ultramarathon runner Danny Dreyer.  In 2008, Dreyer, along with New Balance, helped design a shoe especially fit for those who run with midfoot strike.   The first edition of Dreyer’s Book, ChiRunning, sold over 150,000 copies when launched in 2004.

The technique has been disseminated by means of audios, videos, and workshops.  The official website includes all the available methods for learning ChiRunning.  They offer a ChiRunning School, a personal trainer, or media material to learn the technique.

Dreyer has stated that the ChiRunning technique involves: "focus your mind", "sense your body", "breathe to tap into Chi", "relax your muscles", "practice good posture", and "start slow".

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