What is Chirunning

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ChiRunning – Taking the Pain out of Running

As runners, we are often given well meaning advice from non-runners: ‘You shouldn’t run so much, it’s bad for your joints’. With over 40% of runners getting some form of injury every year, maybe they have a point.

ChiRunning is a running technique focused on reducing the impact of running on the joints and muscles of body and therefore avoiding the onset of running related injuries.

In the words of the ChiRunning founder, Danny Dreyer,
“Its not running that’s bad for your body, its how you run that damages the body”.

What is ChiRunning?

ChiRunning takes the principles of Tai Chi and applies them to the sport of running.
The technique teaches the runner to use the core muscles, upper body and gravity to do the hard work, rather than placing all the strain on the leg muscles.

ChiRunning promotes the use of a midfoot landing rather with the heel first (heelstrike).

Why should we avoid a heel strike?

Heel strike is common for many runners, thanks to the protection our cushioned running shoes have given us over the years. If we were to run barefoot, our body would not allow the heel to hit the ground first ahead of the body (Try it out for yourself). Naturally, our body cannot take this force through the joints.

Everytime we land with a heelstrike in front of the body, it’s like putting on the brakes to our flow of running. In addition, we send additional force up through the ankle, knee and hip joints and tighten up the muscles in the shin area. We then use the rear leg to power our body forward, pushing off from the toes. This places added pressure on the foot and calf/achilles area of this rear leg. This action is repeated throughout the run, constantly braking with the front leg and powering the body forward with the rear leg.

With ChiRunning, we learn to land with a midfoot strike and limit the pressure on the joints and muscles of the legs. By letting the body fall forward from the ankles upward, we let gravity do some of the work, and take the pressure of the legs.

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So what are the main ChiRunning principles?

1. Posture : Aligning the posture and relaxing the muscles
2. Falling : Letting the body fall forwards with gravity from the ankles
3. Picking up Feet : Midfoot landing, relaxed legs and avoiding heel striking
4. Arm Swing: Incorporating upper body and core
5. Cadence : Increase the cadence to limit the heel strike

At one stage we were all ChiRunners.
Look at any child running and you will see they never heel strike. They let their body fall forward, and their feet just keep up with their forward fall. They look effortless and natural and can run all day. Our lifestyle over our teenage and adult years have impacted our posture and movement patterns and unfortunately most of us run with tense, tight bodies.

If only it was as easy as changing overnight. Like any practice (yoga, tai chi, pilates etc), ChiRunning works on the basis of gradual progression. We recommend in each run you focus on one of the principles of the technique. Like perfecting a swimming stroke after years of swimming, it takes patience but the reward is worth the effort.

Success Stories

Read lots of our Irish Chirunning Success Stories

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How to learn Chirunning

Mary teaches ChiRunning Introduction Workshops in Dublin and private classes and workshops at your running club/office.
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Find out more about ChiRunning events and workshops

Comments

  1. Christine Watson on July 16, 2014 at 11:26 am said:

    How much is this 3 hour ChiRunning session?? I am unable to attend the free session you are doing at Waterstown Park as i will be working at 10.30.
    Would you consider doing an evening class as well?
    Thanks
    Christine Watson

    • Mary Jennings on July 16, 2014 at 2:47 pm said:

      Hi Christine, the workshop is 70 euro in Dublin. If you can send me on your email, I can send you some more information. There will be a discount due to your link with the free session next week. Mary

  2. Hi, I was just wondering where about in kildare sessions are based? I would be interested in doing a workshop on chi running. I am only running a short time and wish to improve my technique. regards, susan

    • Mary Jennings on February 13, 2015 at 12:26 pm said:

      Hi Susan, I just sent you a message back – at the moment we have just the Dublin Workshops but there is also the option to do a private 1 hour class yourself if you like !

Locations

Our classes take place outdoors at the following locations across Dublin:

Sandymount, Dublin
Clontarf, Dublin

Our workshops take place at the Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane, beside the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin Docklands.

Chirunning events take place outdoors in local parks or at your club or venue.

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