Uncategorized · March 27, 2010

Chi running

After seeing my many Facebook posts on the problems I was having  with my right knee and how that was affecting my preparations for the Borneo International Marathon, a friend suggested I get and read a book on Chi Running by Danny and Katherine Deyer.

3 months of pain (right knee, lower back), disappointment (could not achieve target distances) and frustration (had to take time off everytime the knee hurt and start training all over again) meant I was prepared to try anything. So I got the book and checked out some youtube videos on Chi Running.

Derived from Tai Chi, Chi Running is based on the concept of finding our most natural posture and maintain that when we run. It involves pointing our feet forward in the direction we want to head for instead of the more common habit of pointing the feet slightly outwards, lengthening our spine instead of hunching over, keeping our centre or waist levelled and just fall forward as we run. Yes, that’s how the book describes Chi Running. It is like falling forward.

The book also said that with Chi Running, we would expand less effort as we would be in harmony with our bodies motion and would need to use minimal muscle strength. As this was an effortless running technique, injuries would be minimized.

That part sounded great so I decided to apply whatever I had read and seen on the internet into my run the very next day.

I got to the Likas track, made sure my feet were pointing in the direction i wanted to go, straightened my back , levelled my waistline and… fell forward…running forward I mean. Initially, I had to concentrate on keeping my feet pointing straight forward, but after a while it just came naturally. I did a 3 KM run and then after checking in with my body, decided I could do a bit more. That day, I ended up running 6 KM.

Although I had not run that kind of distance for a few months, the most amazing thing was not that I had run 6 KM but that I had covered that distance and felt no pain in my right knee or lower back. I just felt as if I had just done some calistenics or yoga class. Talk about effortless.

However, before I celebrated, I thought that it would be good to do another run and see how that went. Would i be able to repeat this experience? Would it be effortless? So on Sunday, I decided on a long run. 10 KM. I haven’t run this distance since December 2009.

Did the same thing as before, pointed my feet straight, lengthened my back, checked my waist and started to just fall forward. Not only did I manage to complete the 10 KM, I also managed to increase my speed. End result? After 10 KM, I felt that I had done a workout but there was hardly any muscle or back pain. I just felt generally good.

I only have another 35 days left to train my body to run for another 11 more KM. But now, with the Chi Running principles, I am confident that i’ll be able to complete the Borneo International Half Marathon (21 KM) on the 2nd of May without killing myself.