Chi Running – improve your running mindfully
I had a phone call recently from a ‘Chi Running’ coach asking if I would be interested in collaborating on a workshop weekend. Although I had heard of it, I didn’t know exactly what was involved in this so called Chi Running… I was intrigued to find out more! Today Balavan Thomas took me through the main principles of Chi Running down on the beach at Holywell, which he writes about here. There are many cross-overs it has with yoga, so we will be holding a weekend Yoga and Chi Running Retreat 22-25 April, see below for details…
Chi Running is a way of running which incorporates the movement principles of Tai Chi with good bio-mechanics and running technique. Danny Dreyer, the founder of Chi Running is an ultra-runner who worked with a Tai Chi Master to improve his running technique. He found by using the movement principles which had been perfected over many years of study by Tai Chi masters he was able to make is own running more energy efficient and he became less prone to injury.
Some of the key principles of Chi Running are:
- To use the core muscles more when running so that the rest of the body doesn’t have to work so hard.
- To have a whole body lean (without bending at the waist) to utilise gravity to move the body forward. To see this principle in action observe any of the top African runners as they put in race winning performances.
- Develop flexibility – many runners don’t stretch or explore the full range of the body’s range of motion. As in yoga, having flexibility is important so body loosening and stretching exercises are incorporated into Chi Running.
- Good posture is the key to good running technique. If the body is aligned and well balanced it leads to more effortless movement and reduces the chance of injury.
- Good leg action – many runners over-stride and heel-strike, this can lead to knee and ham-string injuries. Instead it is important to land under the knee on a bent leg with landing on the whole foot (mid-foot strike) cadence. It is important to have the correct cadence (the number of strides you take in a minute) the runner needs to be light on their feet to avoid fatigue.
- Body sensing – Listening to the body is the way to prevent injuries before they occur. The body is constantly giving us feedback and we need to pay attention and take action to avoid injury.
- Being mindful – making changes takes mental focus. If you want to run faster, further, and injury-free, you’ll need to use your mind to re-educate your body. When you determine the right adjustments to make to your running form, your mind can tell your body what to do until it becomes part of your muscle memory. Not only can this save you some pain (and a few trips to the physio), it can also be meditative to become deeply attuned to your body’s
Yoga and Chi Running Weekend Retreat
Lime House Yoga, Cornwall
£375 pp sharing in one of the smaller rooms
£425 pp sharing in one of the larger rooms (see accommodation/food/studio details)
More details on the schedule will be available soon but you can reserve your place now – only 12 available. Arrive from 4pm Friday for evening yoga, depart after yoga and breakfast Monday morning.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY – A TYPICAL DAY EXAMPLE
- 7.00am-8.00am – Vinyasa Flow yoga
- 8.15am – breakfast
- 9am-12pm – Chi Running theory and practical
- 1.00pm – lunch
- Afternoon – take a longer run, go to the beach or relax
- 6-7.30pm – restorative yoga, meditation, relaxation
- 7.45pm – dinner
- 9pm – optional meditation
£150 deposit per person is required to secure your place on this unique retreat.
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