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About Chi Running

Marin Headlands. Golden Gate Bridge. Dawn.


The two main themes underlying all the Chi Running concepts are ENERGY EFFICIENCY and INJURY PREVENTION. When you can run pain-free and with less effort, then running just naturally becomes more fun, and your running can turn into a lifelong practice.

Chi Running combines the central movement principles of T’ai Chi with the sport of running to create a technique that shifts the workload toward your core muscles, allowing your leg muscles to work less. This results in increased efficiency and a significant reduction in injuries.


As I go through all of the Chi Running focuses in this class, I’ll also be talking about their importance in terms of those two main themes: energy efficiency and injury prevention…two topics which every runner should be aware of with every step. I will constantly refer back to these two themes throughout this Chi Running class. You want to be energy efficient so that you don’t fatigue as easily.


The two most important skills to learn in order to accomplish energy efficiency and injury prevention are: alignment and relaxation.


……means getting your body parts aligned and moving in the same direction you’re headed. This creates energy efficiency because it reduces the amount of extraneous movement. Any part of your body that is not moving in the direction you’re headed is, in some way, reducing your efficiency.


…… along with Alignment and are explained in the T’ai Chi Principle of Needle in Cotton, which is considered to be the foundation of all movement in the body. Strength and alignment along your centerline (rotational axis) is combined with relaxation in your peripherals (arms/shoulders…hips/legs). The weight of the body is supported by the structure rather than by muscles. If your center is strong and your arms and legs are relaxed, you can run in a way that is powerful yet fluid.


Chi Running cooperates with Two Forces……

T’ai Chi is a martial art which focuses on cooperating with the flow of energy by moving in the same direction as the force. The two forces acting on your body are:

1.) the downward pull of gravity and,

2.) the force of the oncoming road.

Here’s how Chi Running will teach you to cooperate with these two powerful forces:

1. Your upper body cooperates with the pull of gravity by leaning forward in a controlled forward fall.

2. Your lower body cooperates with the force of the oncoming road because your legs and hips are swinging rearward, in the same direction as the oncoming road.

Having your upper body moving forward while your lower body moves rearward allows you to run in balance, reducing your energy expenditure and lowering your risk for injury.

Chi Running follows the Principle of Gradual Progress.

Chi Running also uses the principle of Gradual Progress, mentioned in the Chi Running and Chi Walking books. This principle states that everything has to grow incrementally through its own developmental stages, from less to more or from smaller to larger. When a growth process happens gradually, each step forms a stable foundation for the next step. This insures that nothing happens before its time, and teaches you to be process-oriented instead of goal-oriented.

Chi Running focuses can be done anytime.

The beauty of the Chi Running focuses is that you can practice them all day long, not just while you’re running or walking. The body learns best by repetition, so the more often you practice the Chi Running focuses, the more quickly your body will learn to move in a new way. you can be practicing good posture and relaxation no matter what you’re doing.


The first segment of the workshops focuses on four components of the Chi Running form:

1. Posture.

2. Leaning from the ankle.

3. Lifting your ankles.

4. Arm swing.

These four elements are the foundation of everything else you’ll learn in the workshop. Once put together, you will run efficiently and mindfully.