CHI Form of Running

CHI Form of Running

Rajnish Goswami

This is a form of running influenced by tai – chi. It has been described as a quasi- yoga based style of running which supposedly reduces the chances of injury.

This form of running lays emphasis on posture, core strength, mindfulness and relaxed legs. It uses the principles of tai chi to focus on alignment relaxation and proper form when running or walking.

The technique outlined is as:

a) focus your mind

b)sense your body

c)practise good posture and 

e)start slow.

Runners are instructed to lean slightly forward (from the ankle) have a straight back and bent knees.

The propulsion gains momentum through the lean with the midfoot strike being directly under the body.

So how does this improve running efficiency?

In long distance running efficiency is the key. Tai chi is all about learning to relax the body moving parts to become efficient. Chi running is designed to address the two vital reasons focussing on form : injury prevention and energy efficiency. It works because it reduces the impact on the joints and allows the leg muscles to work less while running.

The basics of ChiRunning

Run Tall When you stand straight the joints are in alignment and the skeleton supports the body weight. While running this alignment is kept so that the skeleton continues to be involved.

It is common for runners to slump from the shoulders or sometimes bend at the waist instead of the skeleton which is stronger. By maintaining this posture, the amount of work the legs have to do lessens so movement is more efficient.

Lean forward.  The biggest force to fight is gravity .So why not make it work for us than against by adding a slight forward lean while running. By leaning forward, gravity is used for propulsion instead of the legs. This lean also keeps the body aligned with the foot landing under the body.

 To do this, lean from the ankles not from the waist. Lean should not be too far forward to avoid losing control and falling.

Run from the core. Many runners have hip problems while running. This is usually caused by a weak core which isn’t strong enough keep the hips and the pelvis aligned. To reduce injuries it is important to keep the pelvis level. This is done by engaging the core muscles while running.

A simple exercise to keep the pelvis level is stand against a wall and press lower back against it. See what happens to the pelvis engaging the lower abdominal in a vertical crunch. Remember this feeling while running.

Relax It is common for runners to tighten up their shoulders or muscles as they get tired. But this stiffness and tension wastes energy and makes running less efficient. Runners need to continuously remind themselves when they see their form slipping.

Sense and respond with correct adjustments by simply straightening the arms .

How to change the existing running form. 

They usually say that running form cannot be changed but I firmly believe that with practice and patience it is possible to change the existing running form.

The more the practice the quicker the change .You can start with some short distances of 500 metres to start with then slowly increase the distance .

Devote atleast 2 runs per week to this technique. Focus on the form feel the difference and make adjustments.

You will soon be running more efficiently.

Rajnish Goswami, obese till 2015, successfully completed multiple Marathons and Ironman half distance and full distance races. He is a fitness enthusiast and an avid reader of sports science