Chi Running Workshop

 Chi Running  Comments Off on Chi Running Workshop
Oct 292012

When I saw that there was a Chi Running workshop being held only half an hour from my house I was very excited.  When I saw that it would be taught by Danny Dreyer himself I was ecstatic.  I had been dabbling in Chi Running for quite a while and had recently started to take it more seriously.  The opportunity to be taught in person by the founder of this innovative style of running was one I could not afford to pass up.  The date was for one day before the Baystate Half-Marathon and I was concerned that I would be very wiped out following an all-day running workshop.  I wrote to the coordinators of the workshop and they assured me that there was very little actual running and my legs would be fresh the next day.  This was both true and not entirely true, but I will get back to that in a bit.

My expectations for the workshop were very high.  Although I had read the book and watched the DVD, I was struggling with many of the concepts and I was convinced my technique was inherently flawed.  I was right.  In retrospect I can say that the book is completely accurate and I am sure that many readers get everything they need to master Chi Running by reading the book and following its drills.  I must be in the rare minority of people for whom both the book and DVD were not sufficient.  All through the workshop I had these light bulbs going off in my head as I finally connected what I knew which how it felt.

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 Posted by at 7:25 pm

Weekly Training Report for 2012-10-28

 Training Log  Comments Off on Weekly Training Report for 2012-10-28
Oct 272012

Workouts 9
Time 411 min
Running 41.1 miles
Walking 1.5 miles

  • tue: Cooldown. Walked 0.5 miles.
  • tue: Pillings Pond and Wildwood. Ran 4.9 miles. Untimed recovery run. Easy conversational pace. I don’t plan to time any runs for the next month, but I will record effort. I woke up this morning feeling like someone had dragged me behind their car across bumpy terrain. A good session of rolling, stretching and a liberal dosage of Bio Freeze did the trick. I actually enjoyed my run today and I was extremely careful to not stress my heart rate at all.
  • wed: Pillings Pond and Salem St. Ran 6.8 miles. Easy run in the early evening. Kept the breathing even and well out of anything uncomfortable. Geared down on hills. I spent the entire time meditating on the Chi Running focus “Run Tall”. I held my core lightly, kept my pelvis leveled and Column straight. A wonderfully refreshing run.
  • thu: Pillings Pond and Wildwood. Ran 4.9 miles.
  • fri: Pillings Pond and Wildwood. Ran 4.9 miles.
  • fri: cool down. Walked 0.5 miles.
  • sat: cooldown. Walked 0.5 miles.
  • sat: Lynnfield 8.1 mile loop. Ran 8.1 miles. Slow, relaxing run on a gorgeous day. My goal for this run was to breath only through my nose for the entire run, including hills. I concentrated on efficiency of running form by staying loose and relaxed.

    Chi Running focus: The Lean. I use the visualization “push the air with your chest” as a guide. This is only a 1 inch lean at the pace I was running.

  • sun: Lynnfield 11.64 mile loop. Ran 11.6 miles. Cold, wet, windy, drizzly pre-storm run. The roads are empty. I didn’t see anyone out. It was a little weird. I kept the pace low, breathing through my nose only to help focus on energy conservation and loose, effortless running.

    Chi Running focus today: Pull Elbows Back. I kept my arms swinging in sync with my stride. Visualization: “Elbow the runner behind you”.

 Posted by at 8:00 pm

Road Races

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Oct 242012

I had a thought today about racing. All the training, all the miles and all the preparation serve to bring you to that one moment in a race. That one moment when your body demands that you stop. All you have to do is stop and all the pain will go away. All other animals on the planet would stop in that moment. Only human beings can override all that biology, ignore the feelings of agony pressing down on us and go on. Its all about that moment.

All of us are lucky that we have moments like that to overcome. So many people around us don’t have a clue. I come home from a race, plop my medal on the kitchen counter and go about my day. Every time I chat with a neighbor or answer the phone I feel like I am moving through a world of cutout figures who can’t see in three dimensions. I want to scream “I AM ALIVE TODAY”

 Posted by at 10:56 am

Baystate Half-Marathon 2:05

 Race Reports  Comments Off on Baystate Half-Marathon 2:05
Oct 222012

Gorgeous day for a race with wonderful crowds and mostly nice course. I do wish they had mile markers every mile as I got confused several times. I forgot to start my watch so I was at the mercy of course markings. Now, this may be considered flat by some people but it’s not smutty nose flat. God that one bridge in particular felt a little masochistic the second time around.

I started the day with intestinal distress and light nausea and almost didn’t get in the car to go. Sitting my car before the race my HR was up to 72, up about 12. During the race my HR remained high and I started to get what I call excessive heart rate nausea followed by the predictable chills. Basically I was headed into stupidville over-reaching territory. I massively pulled my pace back from 9:00 to 11:00 for the last 3 miles and walked the last water stops and then walked 2 times in the last mile. Ended up averaging 9:30 for the race.

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Weekly Training Report for 2012-10-21

 Training Log  Comments Off on Weekly Training Report for 2012-10-21
Oct 202012

Workouts 6
Time 235 min
Running 22.4 miles
Walking 0.5 miles

  • mon: cooldown. Walked 0.5 miles for 10 minutes .
  • mon: Recovery run. Ran 3.0 miles for 33 minutes at 11:00 pace. I tried, tried and tried again to keep this slow. I had to drop my cadence meter to 170 bpm since at 180 there is no way I can run under 10:30 that I can figure out. I am really trying to run the right paces for the right workouts, and my recovery runs really fall into the category of ones I normally run too fast for too far. I would also love to have my recovery HR down around 140 (70%) for these runs.
  • wed: warm up / cool down. Ran 0.8 miles for 15 minutes at 20:00 pace.
  • wed: Steady-state run. Ran 3.0 miles for 27 minutes at 9:03 pace. Stamina workout at target half-marathon pace. Felt good in the nice cool evening air. Just a couple more short easy runs this week before my Sunday race. Kept my cadence at 180.
  • fri: Easy taper run. Ran 2.5 miles for 25 minutes at 10:00 pace. Easy run just to move the blood around.
  • sun: Baystate Half-Marathon. Ran 13.1 miles for 125 minutes at 9:33 pace.
 Posted by at 8:00 pm

Chi Running: The Drop

 Chi Running Focus  Comments Off on Chi Running: The Drop
Oct 202012

The opposite of The Pull is The Drop (my terms not Danny’s),  when you drop your leg into place underneath you.  I already described quite about how to do that in the “The Pull” but there are a few things that need to be clarified.  You knee should not swing out much in front of you if you are running on a flat surface although it will if you are running up a hill a little bit.  One drill to get a sense for what this feels like is to stand facing a wall with your nose almost touching it.  Lift your right heel behind you (and this will take hamstring/calf work since you are not moving) and then let it drop in place while you lift your left ankle.  Jog in place with your ankles flying up behind you.  If you pull your knee forward you will bang it into the wall (ouch!).

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Chi Running: The Pull

 Chi Running Focus  Comments Off on Chi Running: The Pull
Oct 202012

Ok, but how do you get your leg up behind you so it can fall into place beneath you?  Sadly, this is even harder to describe.  Let me tell you what you don’t use: Your hamstrings, glutes, quads or calves.  Let that soak in for a bit. You don’t use leg muscles to lift your leg and you don’t use leg muscles to place your leg beneath you when you land.  Its all about body mechanics and posture and physics. Let’s say you are running down the road.  Your front torso is falling forward and your legs are moving backwards. If you let your pelvis rotate slightly around your spine (parallel to the ground)  then you have one leg beneath you and one leg behind you. Visualize “lifting your ankles”, leaving your foot limp (no toe off) and use your core to rotate your pelvis back and the leg behind you will be pulled up using a combination of core and ligaments.  I had been using my hamstrings before, but that is wrong.  Trust me you can do this without using your leg muscles at all.  Leg muscles are only really used to minimally absorb the impact of each step, and that is all.

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 Posted by at 5:49 pm

Chi Running: The Lean

 Chi Running Focus  Comments Off on Chi Running: The Lean
Oct 202012

I think this is the part most people have heard about Chi running.  You lean forward and let gravity pull you down.  You put your foot down underneath you and if you are in a proper one legged posture stance you will have perfect support without bone jarring impact.  This is the part that is so hard to explain or to read about and it turns out I was not doing it right.  This is very hard to explain, but here goes.  If you look at babies when they first learn to walk they will totter forward, sort of a controlled fall, with their legs sort of falling into place underneath them to stop them from falling on their face.   Similar idea here.  If your right leg is up behind you and you just let it swing down and fall into place then once again you let gravity do the work, not muscle.

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Chi Running: One leg posture stance

 Chi Running Focus  Comments Off on Chi Running: One leg posture stance
Oct 202012

This is simply combining several other Chi Running Focuses at the same time and standing on one leg, with full balance.:

  • Pelvis is leveled, knees “softened”
  • Column aligned
  • Full-foot support.

Chi running is just moving from one legged posture stance to another, while falling forward



 Posted by at 5:35 pm

Chi Running: Full foot support

 Chi Running Focus  Comments Off on Chi Running: Full foot support
Oct 202012

Your weight should be equally distributed throughout the foot.  When running this is often called the “midfoot strike”, mostly to differentiate between forefoot and heel strikers. Picture 3 points on the bottom of your foot, one under your pinky toe, one under your big toe and one in the middle of the heel and think of this as a “tripod” of stability.  It is a highly stable configuration, where your weight is distributed evenly across your foot.

 Posted by at 5:19 pm