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ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running
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ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running [Format Kindle]

Danny Dreyer , Katherine Dreyer
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)

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Introduction: Running Lessons from a T'ai Chi Master

Not long ago, I was running past a grade school. It was a warm, late-spring day, and the kids were out on recess. They were busy playing tag and chasing balls and just doing what kids do best -- running around. I stopped to take a swig of water from my bottle, and as I watched the flurry of little legs, I was reminded once again why I love to watch kids run. Every one of them had perfect running form: a nice lean, a great stride opening up behind them, heels high in the air, relaxed arm swing and shoulders. They had it all! One of my biggest desires as a coach is to help adults learn to run like they did as kids. It's such a natural movement when kids do it. It looks so effortless and joyful. Many books about running tell you to just go out and run like you did as a kid. There's just one problem with that suggestion: You don't have the same body today that you did back then. If you do, I'd like you to be my teacher.

So why don't adults run like kids, with that same ease and joyfulness? After running for thirty years and working with thousands of runners, I'd have to say that the two biggest factors are stress and tension. I can speak for myself, and maybe you can relate. Since I left the sixth grade, I have put my body through a wide range of physical and emotional stresses, such as tightening my shoulders when I'm worried, slouching all day at my desk, holding tension in my neck while driving -- the list is endless. Individually, these might not sound like a big deal, but when you add them all up over a lifetime, they have a major cumulative effect on how you move. I've also done a few radical things that have taken a bit more of a toll on my body, like skiing off cliffs and doing face plants while skateboarding. As Carolyn Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, would say, "Your biography becomes your biology." With all of this abuse stored in my body, I'd be hard-pressed to run like I did as a kid. The good news is that for anyone with a little patience and perseverance, it is possible to get back to that state.

There are over 24 million runners in the United States alone. But get this. It is estimated that 65% of all runners incur at least one injury a year that interrupts their training. That means that 15.6 million people will get injured this year from running. No wonder people have a love/hate relationship with running. It's one of the most accessible and inexpensive ways to stay in shape, yet it poses a danger that is cautioned in articles, books, and doctors' offices everywhere. Most people treat injury as part of the sport and learn to accept that it will happen sooner or later: "I'll deal with it when it happens." It's the same line I get when I ask people in the San Francisco Bay area if they worry about earthquakes.

The conclusion I've come to after teaching countless runners is that running does not hurt your body. Let me repeat that -- and you can read my lips -- running does not hurt your body. It's the way you run that does the damage and causes pain.

When Adriane, 42, came to me, she was caught in a back-and-forth cycle of training hard to get into good condition, then getting injured and having to lay off for a couple of weeks, then starting all over again. She thought it was the right thing to constantly train fast and strength-train to improve her times in the marathon. But she was not making any forward progress because of the nagging injuries and her own internal pressure to keep increasing her weekly race-training schedule. With the ChiRunning technique, she learned how to relax while running and, more important, in the other areas of her life. She realized that she was not only a driven runner, she was a driven person. Without all the tension in her body, she stopped injuring herself while running, and her training took on a new level of consistency.

Jerry, a 59-year-old runner, was just about to give up running when he came to his first ChiRunning class. He had been a runner for forty years, and after having knee surgery, he had begun to feel the same old aches and pains creeping into his runs that had prompted the

surgery. He was afraid that if he continued running, he would ruin his knees and live in pain for the rest of his life. It has now been two years since his first class, and he is running regularly -- including an hour and a half on steep trails once a week -- and looking forward to many more years of pleasurable running. In fact, he wrote to me recently, thrilled that he had finished first in his age group in a local race, something he had never dreamed of even before his surgery.

Carmen, 35, was a beginning runner and insecure about her ability to do anything well physically. After taking a series of three ChiRunning classes, she happened to call as my wife, Katherine, and I were reviewing her class on video. Katherine remarked on how good Carmen looked in the film and asked her how she liked the class. "Oh, it simply changed my life" was the reply. "For the first time in my life, I feel like I can be good at a sport."

From beginners to competitors to the forty-plus crowd who are afraid of injuring themselves as they get older, ChiRunning is meeting the needs of runners with an approach that builds a healthy body instead of breaking it down from misuse or overuse.

ChiRunning Versus Power Running

The current paradigm of running form and injury prevention is founded in muscle strength. It is basically built around three principles: (1) If you want to run faster, you need to build stronger leg muscles. (2) If you want to run longer, you need to build stronger leg muscles. (3) If you want to avoid or recover from injuries, you need to build stronger leg muscles. Do you see a theme developing here? It's all dependent on muscles to get the job done, and the leg muscles are given the bulk of the responsibility to make it all happen. That's a lot of responsibility and, according to T'ai Chi principles, a very unbalanced way to move your body. The problem with strength training is that it doesn't get to the root of the most common cause of injury: poor running form. Most runners want to run either longer or faster at some point in their running career, but without good running form, added distance will only lengthen the time you are running improperly and increase your odds of getting hurt. If you try to add speed with improper running form, you are magnifying the poor biomechanical habits that could cause injury. So, the best place to build a good foundation is in getting your running motion smooth, relaxed, and efficient. Then you can add distance or speed without risking injury.

This book presents an alternative to what we call power running. ChiRunning is based on the centuries-old principle from T'ai Chi that states, Less is more. Getting back to that childhood way of running doesn't come from building bigger muscles, it comes from relaxing muscles, opening tight joints, and using gravity to do the work instead of pushing and forcing your body to move in ways that can do it harm. Most runners, especially those over 35, will tell you that running can keep you in good shape but it's hard on your body. I developed ChiRunning because I really didn't believe that pounding and injury should be a part of running. I just didn't buy it.

I've never considered myself a great runner. I liked to run as a kid, but I shied away from it in high school because, to tell you the truth, I was intimidated by the caliber of our track-team members, most of whom could run a hundred-yard dash in under 10 seconds and a quarter mile in under a minute. In an inner-city high school with 3,600 students, the coaches could basically pick from the cream of the crop, and I hardly considered myself even potential cream. So I joined the ski club and partied instead. In fact, I signed up to take gymnastics, because every Wednesday the gym classes had to run around a nearby lake, and I couldn't imagine making myself run for twelve minutes without stopping.

Don't get me wrong. I've always loved sports, and I love to learn new things with my body. Whenever I wanted to take on a new sport, I would apply another love of mine -- figuring out how things work. As far back as I can remember, I've always had questions running through my mind, like: "Why does a clock tick?" or "What kind of machine wraps a stick of butter?" As a kid, I loved taking things apart to see what made them do what they did, then I'd try to put them back together again. Although I had a lifetime average of about 75% on the reassembly, I always figured out how they worked.

This is what I did with skiing, rock climbing, and sailing. I broke each sport down into its elemental parts, which would then give me a physical understanding of how to put it all together into a unified movement. As I found myself improving, I would get more excited and consequentially focus even more. My learning was driven by my passion, so my hours spent practicing would fly by. I loved learning new body skills.

In my early twenties, when I took up running, I approached it in much the same way. I began running regularly in 1971, when I got drafted into the army. Running around the army base at an easy pace was very relaxing for my body and helped to settle my mind. This was the first time I had used a sport for more than physical fitness: I wasn't into being in the army, so I used running to escape the barracks and explore. After doing an eighteen-week stint with Uncle Sam, I was graciously given an honorable discharge, but not before discovering a new favorite pastime.

When I was a young adult, my curiosity about how things worked extended into those unseen forces out of which the physical world springs forth. I was no longer satisfied with only understanding the how, I wanted to know why they worked. I always came away with a sense that there was more going on than I was seeing. For lack of a better term, I call it the invisible world, and my curiosity about it is still the dr...

Revue de presse

'The most exciting and revolutionary book to hit the running community this decade.' Toby Tanser, author of Train Hard, Win Easy
'This programme will totally revolutionize the way you run.' Baron Baptiste, author of Journey into Power
'Are you running in a mini-marathon? Catherina McKiernan is a big fan of ChiRunning, which claims to take much of the pain out of running'
Feature, Irish Times 30/5

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4.0 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 La lecture seule ne suffit pas ! 10 août 2012
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Livre facile d'accès, parfois long mais qui couvre le sujet de façon large. S'abstenir pour ceux qui cherchent une méthode rapide pour deux raisons : Le sujet est traité dans sa globalite et il semble impensable de mettre correctement en application la méthode sans tutorat.
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Simple, séduisante et efficace 15 juillet 2010
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
La méthode sans doute la plus efficace pour courir en dépensant un minimum d'énergie, en se faisant aider par la gravité et l'angle du corps par rapport à la verticale.
Ce n'est pas la fréquence des foulées qui est l'accélérateur mais la longueur de celles ci combinée avec cet angle avec la verticale.
Une méthode très intelligente, en finesse, par rapport à la construction brute de gros muscles dans les cuisses que font la majorité des coureurs
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Improve you barefoot style running 22 octobre 2010
Par blogodo
Well good advice and technique to improve your barefoot running, you enjoy your running activities easier with fun.
I am running much more longer, improve my speed, good book to get in your library
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  299 commentaires
1.101 internautes sur 1.226 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 A Critical Review of ChiRunning by a barefoot runner 13 novembre 2009
Par Lincoln - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I have been a barefoot runner since 2005, at which time I re-learned how to correctly run using my awareness and the teachings of numerous sources. I have read Danny Dryer's ChiRunning book and watched his ChiRunning DVD. I have also studied The Pose Running Technique on DVD and the workbook. In addition, I have experience practicing Qi Gong (Chi Kung), meditation, and yoga. I have also studied anatomy, posture, The Alexander Technique, and Rolfing Structural Integration. My partner is also a Chinese Medicine professional and Acupuncturist. So basically, I know a thing or two in this field...

In light of the acclaim that Danny Dryer is receiving for his ChiRunning technique, there are some critical errors and marketing misperceptions that I feel should be addressed. I base these insights on my own personal experience and my extensive research into natural running techniques and chi energy.

1. This book does not at all use the chi (qi) energy for running. Dryer teaches a method of using gravity to encourage the body to move through space. After reading and watching Dryer's published material, it is clear to me that he uses the term "chi" as a marketing strategy. All things eastern - yoga, tai chi, etc - are hot selling points these days. Yes, Dryer states that he has practiced Qi Gong under a teacher. However, nowhere in the DVD or book does he teach about the movement of chi the body, its pathways or its functions. Dryer should have title his technique "Gravity Running" instead.

2. Dryer combines a commonly misunderstood Pilates technique (tightening the core), claming it to be engaging the "hara" or "dan tien / tan tien". While the dan tien is the chi energy center below the navel, never are core muscles used when working with this center. Tightening any muscles will take a person's awareness away from the energy and into the muscular contraction sensation. Contracting muscles may create heat which is often believed to be chi by many beginners, however heat and chi are very different.

In the original Pilates technique, as taught by Joseph Pilates, only the largest, deepest muscles of the core are "engaged" not tightened. This is more akin to placing the awareness in the core while using only the softest tension. Most people misunderstand Pilates and tighten the abdominal muscles which then causes improper posture. Watching the ChiRunning DVD and observing Danny Dryer's posture, it is clear that his posture is far from ideal. Improper core tension and running technique could possibly be the cause of this, however other causes could also exist.

3. Dryer teaches to tighten the core muscle to tilt the pelvis. This lengthens the lower back, thus straightening the spine and removing the natural curve. By straightening the natural curve, the natural spring in the spine is removed leading to possible spine injury. Watching the DVD clearly shows the postural flaw caused by this unnatural movement. I am very suprised to see the noticably poor posture that Dryer and his students showed in this instructional video.

Also, by tightening the core muscles, excess tension is created in the body that will interfere with the body's natural movement. By creating tension in the core, the entire body is adversely affected because the core is the body's center of gravity and the psoas muscles in the deep core extend into the legs and upper back and ribs. Tension in the core will also restrict the rig cage's ability to expand sufficiently to allow proper oxygen in the lungs.

4. Landing on the middle of the foot works against the anatomy of the foot. The arch of the foot acts like a rubber band that allows the foot to spring forward when running on the ball and toes. Running with the middle of the foot first causes the ball and head to hit at the same time, causes jarring sensations in the foot, ankle, and leg.

As seen in the photos in the book and in the DVD video, Dryer wears modern full cushion running shoes that elevate the heal. Ask any expert in anatomy and/or Olympic-level running will teach, these shoes are injuries waiting to happen. A person can only get an accurate anatomical running experience by learning to run barefoot. Barefoot running quickly shows us how to correctly run. We can then return to running in shoes in a safer, more natural and more energy efficient way.

5. Danny Dryer encourages the runner to tilt the body forward, taking the work off of the muscles and letting gravity act as a source of propulsion. Yes, this does work. However this style of running does not make effective use of the muscles and creates a very awkward experience that does not feel natural. Observe the running style of the world's greatest Olympic athletes and you will see all long distance runners stand erect while landing on the ball and toes of the feet.


If you have read this far into my review, you may be left looking for a solution. My best recommendation is to read the book Running Fast and Injury Free by Gordon Pirie. Pirie has held many world records and Olympic medals. He is one of few runners who, in my opinion, has perfected the art of running. His principles are based upon a lifetime of learning from top Olympic runners and beating nearly all of them or their records. Since age 14, Pirie ran with Olympic record holders. In addition, Dr. Nicholas Romanov's Pose Method of Running contains value insights into the physiology of running.

Above all else, since most of us grew up in shoes, we must re-teach ourselves to walk and run as the body's design intends. We must learn to move barefoot. Even if we choose to run every race in shoes, learning to run while barefoot is a necessary part of the process. So find a soft stretch of dirt, sand, grass, sidewalk or road and get started. Skip 99.9% of the theory and get back to the reality of running. Use your mind to observe your body and make corrections as you go. And above all else - have fun!
390 internautes sur 434 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Danny's Methods Gave Me Back My Running Life 7 mai 2004
Par Jerry L Fletcher - Publié sur
[...] This book is a brilliant print presentation of Danny's methods which are revolutionary. He deserves the much wider following he will get with this (his CD is great too).
My story: I've been a runner for 45 years. I nearly gave up running at age 57. The pain in my knees and lower back made me seriously think of quitting. I literally saw an ad in the newspaper for Danny's class and took it as a last resort. He was at the time in his 50's and a nationally ranked ultramarathoner. I figured he ought to know something about efficient running.
I learned his initial techniques in two hours. It took about five or six runs to feel comfortable with the changes in my stride, but from the first day, there was no back pain and such minimal knee pain at the end that I couldn't believe it. I've taken his advanced techniques workshops too (all in the book). The "sidewise" stride up steep hills is another brilliant technique that literally makes running hills fun.
I went from struggling to run for 30 minutes at a time to 1.5 hour runs on steep hills without pain. I'm not a ranked runner. I run for fitness, for weight control, and for the sheer joy of it. I did finish third in my age group in a local race a year ago -- first medal I've ever won (I'm 62 now). But I got my running life back, and that's priceless. I plan to be running into my 80's now -- pain free!
And for what it's worth, I have a doctorate and I'm trained in physics. Danny's techniques are scientifically valid. There's a spiritual side to his methods too. If you don't think running has a spiritual side, I feel sorry for you, but don't ignore his methods just because of that.
Jerry L Fletcher
132 internautes sur 156 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Pretty good, but only for serious runners. 22 août 2005
Par M. Strong - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This book has a lot of good information it - probably too much. Unless you are really going to focus on something, it's very hard to remember more than two or three core ideas. I am a casual runner - maybe two or three runs per week of three to five miles - and I really hoped this book would give me a couple areas of focus that would make my running safer, more comfortable and perhaps faster. Instead, I got overload. There is a single 2-page spread in this book that lists about 50 points to focus on in your running. Come again? That doesn't sound very Zen to me (I know it's a different Eastern philosophy, but you get the idea).

Dreyer ackowledges the length of the list and suggests picking out two or three of these ideas to focus on for each run, but you still need to be pretty serious to do that. I don't want to consult a checklist before each run and I want to plug into my iPod and relax a little while I'm running.

In addition, Dreyer gives a pre- and post-run routine that would add about an hour to any run you wanted to do - again, more than I'm able to commit to this portion of my life.

If you are a very serious runner or want to become one, this is a great book (assuming you can handle a few funky mystical references). On the other hand, if you are looking for two or three areas of focus to make you a better casual runner, they're tough to pull from this book.

Recommended for serious runners who are looking to avoid or recover from injuries.
67 internautes sur 79 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting technique, but less the expected 16 septembre 2006
Par S. Sutton - Publié sur
A decent book with some interesting ideas, but little to do with anything "Chi," which was a little disappointing.

The underlying emphasis throughout this book is on competition, even though usually unstated. It's all about technique. He advocates using as little leg muscle as possible. Specifically, one does not push off using the toes or propel the body using the leg muscles like a sprinter might do. Instead, the only muscle action of the legs is to pick themselves up. He uses a good illustration: stand straight and fall forward. Instinctively, one of your legs will swing forward to catch you. I you use ONLY this muscle action, you'll have the basis of this book's technique.

In addition, he advises you engage your core muscles and maintain an erect, proper posture. (That's good advice because it keeps your body from getting sloppy.) His advice for deep, rhythmic breathing and for relaxing the body overall are sound. The arms swing loosely and to the rear which opens up the chest for better breating.

It is important to focus on what our body and our breath are doing as we run (and not be distracted by our normal day-to-day thoughts). This makes running almost like meditating, which in my opinion is a good thing.

I'm trying this technique in my regular runs and so far it seems "interesting," but no final verdict yet.

Some advice sounds a little dubious. For example, he advises pronaters (whose feet strike the ground not parallel to their path) to force their feet parallel to avoid injury. I'm certainly no expert, but seems to me that forcing a natural pronation to an unnatural angle might itself lead to injury. In any case, I'd certainly want to see some clinical studies before adopting this advice.

Now for a few disappointments.

I've run mostly for pleasure for almost 40 years, and while the book's premise sounds appealing, there are some seeming contradictions. It opens with an image of children running in a schoolyard with a description about how we should all seek to run naturally, free, and unfettered, for the sheer joy of running, just like those kids. It them proceeds through 200+ pages to lay out dozens upon dozens upon dozens (seemingly) of detailed rules about how we should run, including how we should hold our thumbs. It advises we carry a metronome so the that we run exactly X paces per second. Well, I doubt those kids studied any such list or carry pacers. Something just does not add up here.

Implicit in this book is that we let our body tell us the style in which we run as well as how far and fast, but there's almost no follow through on this theme. Instead he presents a detailed, one-size-fits-all running style that (at least in my opinion) is not necessarily what our bodies might tell us to do. There's no room for different body types or running styles.

This style may indeed benefit some runners who have certain physical situations. If you are one of those then his techiques are certainly worth a try. Hope they help. But I'm not convinced this style is for everyone.

There's supposed to be a deep connection with Ti Chi, but apart from a few oblique references to the Chi energy, there is precious little actual discussion of this topic.

And there's this Chi energy itself. I personally don't believe in it (although I would not disparage those who do). In any case, it has really nothing to do with what's taught in the book.

Although this is certainly not the author's fault, this is one of those cases where the advice might best be presented in "20 pages or less." But 20-page books don't sell for enough money to make any profit. And so they are padded with redundandent and generally useless information. Again, not his problem, but this makes the book a bit tedious to read.

In summary, the specific technique he advocates is worth a try. Much of the advice is fine: that we run for the sheer joy and fun of it, that we constantly listen to our bodies and let them guide us to a relaxed and stress-free running style, that we angage our core muscles and maintain a nice posture, that we breath deeply and rhythmically, and that we relax everything we can. But in the end this is mostly a running-style book -- not having much to do with anything mystical, like Chi.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Redundant...and redundant 24 janvier 2012
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Listened to this on audiobook, and I feel like the whole thing could have been done in an hour. He repeats the same phrases over and over, and makes unnecessary belabored examples, as if trying to make the book as cliche as possible...Body, mind, spirit, balance, chi, energy, sounds as if its designed to be an infomercial.
Maybe this book is intended for new runners, but as a runner for over 30 years, it annoyed me to no end. Others have commented on this hypermarketing too. His advertisements for chi walking and chi living underscore his goal to make a brand. He uses the phrase "Chi running" at least 30 times in the first audiobook section, a phrase which essentially didnt exist until he created it, with no explaination of what it actually is until later. Long term runners beware.
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