QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS with Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning about ChiRunning.
Q. Why do you think we need to relearn how to run?
A. Most of us ran really well as kids. We were relaxed in our
movement and didn’t necessarily depend on lots of leg strength to walk and run. We simply fell forward and kept our balance as best we could. Since we were kids we’ve all picked up many poor postural habits and movement habits that inhibit our ability to move efficiently and safely, especially for speed or distance. So, we need to learn how we moved as kids so that we can get back to that same smooth efficient motion that we all once had naturally.
Q. What’s the most common problem(s) you see in runners who come to you?
A. They run with poor posture and their bodies vertical if not leaning back slightly, which makes them lead with their legs when they run, instead of leading with their upper body. This causes a heel strike which increases one’s impact with the ground and, over time, will damage the knees, hips, IT band or ankles.
Q. What is your background in running/teaching and how did you come up with the method?
A. I’ve been running for 34 years, coaching since 1985, running ultra marathons (40) since 1995 finishing in the top 3 places in almost every race. I’ve been teaching running classes since 1999. My ultra marathon running career is what prompted me to develop a system of
running based on energy efficiency and injury prevention…both for my own preservation and for all the people I met over the years that had to quit running because of injuries. I also am a student of T’ai Chi. When I began applying the principles of T’ai Chi to my own running, I began to run with much greater efficiency and without pain and injury.
Q. Why did you call it Chi running?
A. I call it ChiRunning because it is a blend of all the inner principles I’ve learned from my 10-year practice of t’ai chi and my 34 years of running experience. It’s a way to run that is powered more by my body alignment, my ability to relax and the fact that I’m falling forward and letting gravity to most of the work of propulsion.
Q. Are you aware of Malcolm Balk’s ‘Art of Running’ and The Pose Method? If so, how would you say it differs from these?
A. I don’t know about Malcolm Balk’s book. From my understanding, the Pose Method uses the lean to engage the pull of gravity for propulsion (which is the same as ChiRunning) but that’s where the similarity ends. I’ll attach a list of the differences, but I
don’t want to come across as downplaying the Pose Method. They’re just different. Pose works for some people, ChiRunning works for everyone else. Pose runners tend to be highly trained competitive athletes looking for more speed. ChiRunners tend to run the gamut of running types, but most are interested in enjoying running and for running more years without injury. Although increased speed is a definite byproduct of the ChiRunning technique, but it’s not usually the goal of most ChiRunners. ChiRunning is a mind-body
approach to running based on the principles of t’ai chi. Pose is purely a biomechanical approach to running.
Q. How can people bring a bit of chi running to their session tomorrow (ie. Easy, take-home tips that people can apply straight
A. Run with good posture…don’t bend at the waist. Lean from your ankles…slightly, when you run. Don’t reach forward with your legs when you run. Let them swing out behind you as your body falls forward.
Land on your mid-foot, not on the ball or the heel.
More details about Danny Dreyer can be read on www.chirunning.com