September 30, 2022

What happens when you combine running with the practice of T’ai Chi? The answer: chi running. When people first hear about it, they often ask, “What is chi running?”. Chirunning, as it is also called, is a relatively new way of running that focuses on form and keeps you relaxed and meditative while running. Danny Dreyer, who popularized chi running, claims that it will result in less pain and fewer injuries.

What is the Chi Running Approach?

Chi running is mindful running that focuses on every single movement of the body. Its approach is based on the principles of T’ai Chi, yoga and Pilates. Chirunning works with the core muscles and harnesses the mind for more effortless running.

Chi Running as a Running Technique

Chi Running
Chi Running

As a running technique, it teaches runners to move in a more natural and efficient way. The traditional way of running focuses on power and strength for faster running. Chi running, on the other hand, focuses on efficiency with the use of a midfoot strike rather than the heel strike in traditional running technique. A midfoot strike is believed to more biomechanically efficient, resulting in faster running speed with less effort.

Chi Running as a Philosophy

Chi running is more than a running technique. It is also a philosophy of running. It is about running in a relaxed and meditative way. Like T’ai Chi and yoga, chi running provides a spiritual experience and integrates mind and body.

What is Involved in Chi Running?

In chi running, mindfulness means being aware of your body while you run. You pay attention to everything including how your feet strike the ground, your posture, how you breathe, etc. Chirunning requires deep, full breathing so that your body works more efficiently and is relaxed with adequate oxygen.

It’s important to maintain a good posture and remain relaxed while running. Normally people tense their muscles when they exert effort to run faster. This is completely against the principles of chi running. Keeping an upright and natural posture with your muscles relaxed lowers the risk of injury. Good posture allows your body’s chi or natural energy to flow smoothly while poor posture diminishes chi and tires you out.

Does Chi Running Work?

According to the proponents of chi running, this technique minimizes pain and lowers the risk of injury while running. There are no scientific studies to substantiate these claims, although harnessing the mind and body to improve your running technique could enable you to run faster and longer.

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