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.
So I want to start off with my conclusion and then dive into the workshop itself. It was the best $250 I ever spent. What I learned was worth a lot more than money period. If you are like me and running is an important part of your life, then you know that anything that materially improves how you run can have incalculable value.
My own personal goals are simple. I want to run more than I do and I want to do so without injuring myself. My target goal is to run an hour a day 5 days a week, two hours on a sixth day and one day off. This would represent a roughly a 68% increase in my weekly mileage from 25 to 42. Of course running further and faster are also goals, but they are indirectly related to running more miles. Like a lot of masters runners, adding miles often means dealing with the inevitable aches and pains and minor running related injuries. Adding in more rest days helps but that just reduces your running time, so it is an annoying but often effective solution. Enter the promises of Chi Running: To run in a safe, relaxed, efficient and injury free technique. It sounds too good be to be true, doesn’t it?
I got to the class at the Dedham Athletic Club about 15 minutes before class was to start. It was in a large room, probably usually used for an aerobics class of some sort. A large ring of chairs was setup, mostly occupied already by the attendees. I walked over to the sign in table and got my name tag, Chi Running hat (quite a nice hat actually) and some class materials before making my way to a free chair in the circle. Looking around the room I saw that there was about 4o people with ages that ran the gamut from maybe early 20’s to late 60’s, with most of the people being over 35 or so. Most everyone looked fit and happy to be there. I struck up a conversation with the guy on my right who turned out to be a triathlete looking to improve the running portion of his sport.
I am not a Chi Running instructor or an expert runner or a coaching professional of any kind. These represent my notes, primarily for my own edification. If they are helpful to you then that is great and I am glad for that. I don’t guarantee that everything here is absolutely accurate as they are a reflection of my own experience and memory. I am not going to preface every line of this blog entry with “It is my understanding” or “As I recall” as this will just clutter it all up. Just assume that is implied everywhere below.