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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 driving force behind my approach to life. It eventually led me to the study of T'ai Chi and using chi in my running.

The same year I started running, I began my investigation of the invisible by practicing long hours of meditation with a teacher from India. The most important knowledge I gained was how to quiet my mind so I could listen to my body. As my meditation practice began to spill into my running, my running became more and more an exploration of my own physical nature and the energies powering it.

Fast-forward to 1991. Over a period of twenty years, my running and my exploration of the invisible had become increasingly intertwined. I began running longer and longer distances as a means of exploring the potential of my body, which is what led me to the sport of ultramarathon running (distances longer than 26.2 miles). In 1995 I ran my first race, a fifty-miler in Boulder, Colorado. Since then I have completed thirty-four ultramarathons, winning my age group in fourteen of them and placing in the top three in my age group in all but one. The distances I have raced are 50K (31 miles), 50 miles, 100K (62 miles), and 100 miles. In 2002 I ran my first marathon (the Big Sur International Marathon), winning my age group in a time of 3:04, which I was very pleased with, considering there's about a thousand feet of vertical gain on the course.

Now, I just have to say right here, the ChiRunning technique is not about running super-long distances. I have chosen ultradistance running as a way to learn about my body, but I don't necessarily recommend it for everyone. If you are so inclined, ChiRunning certainly makes distance running more enjoyable, but even more important, it represents a way to move your body by using mental focus and relaxation instead of muscle power. In this book you will learn about the principle of "Form, Distance, and Speed," which means that you start by building a foundation of correct running form. As your foundation gets stronger, your body will be able to handle more distance. Then speed becomes a by-product of good technique practiced over increased distance, not something dependent on the size and strength of your muscles. Ultimately, you're not working to build distance and speed, you're working to build presence, and that can happen at any distance or speed.

When I first started running ultras, they were hard work. Along the way I had bouts with aches and pains, which I tried to approach with a positive attitude, telling myself, "If you can get this right, you might not have this pain again." At one point in my training, I had a knee pain that would start about twenty miles into my long run. But I never blamed the running for injuring my body. Instead, I took full responsibility by always trying to figure out how my form was causing my knees to hurt. I assumed that it was a matter of making the right correction, and I let that premise guide me in my trial-and-error research.

In 1997 my eyes were opened to a whole new realm when I met Zhu Xilin, a T'ai Chi master from China who introduced me to the concept of moving from one's center and letting the arms and legs follow. His way of moving his body looked both effortless and powerful. Needless to say, adapting this idea to my running was a huge draw for me.

T'ai Chi owes its origins to the study of animal movements. According to the Chinese, chi (pronounced chee) is the energy force that animates all things. It runs through a system of meridians that distribute this energy to all parts of your body. By practicing mental focus and relaxation, one can learn to sense and direct this subtle energy through the system of movements and exercises known as T'ai Chi. This concept is downplayed by Western medicine because chi cannot be detected with measuring instruments and cannot be supported by the scientific method. The interesting part about chi is that it will move through your body whether you believe in it or not, because if it weren't running through you, you'd be dead. Fair enough?

The current trend in sports training toward using one's core muscles is just starting to scratch the surface of knowledge the Chinese have been developing for three thousand years. One of the things T'ai Chi teaches us is to direct movement from points along our spine; thus it can originate from the center line of your body and not from the peripheral. Observation of Nature teaches us that the strength of a tree lies in its trunk, not in the branches and leaves. Why should the human body be any different? Why do you think the area of your body that houses all your vital organs is called your trunk? Are we nodding yet?

Look at the movement of a cheetah, the fastest land animal on earth. It doesn't have big strong legs like a tiger. It has skinny legs like a greyhound. So how does it go so fast? The secret lies in its spine, which is where most of its chi energy is contained. When a cheetah runs, you can see that its source of power comes from the spine and not the legs.

For your legs to be powered by the chi energy coming through the spine, they need to be very relaxed. Master Zhu would constantly tell me to keep my spine straight but relax the rest of my body and let the chi flow through "like water through a pipe." A major lightbulb went off in my head when it occurred to me that this idea could be applied to running.

I started to grasp the idea of moving my body from its center and letting my legs be pulled along for the ride. But relaxing my arms and legs while running only uncovered the next problem in the chain -- the need to relax my shoulders and hips. Once I became adept at relaxing, I could feel how much power my spine had when it wasn't met with any resistance from the rest of my body. That was when I began to experience a new level of smoothness and ease, often feeling as if I were skimming along on a conveyor belt. As I worked on technique, my sense of running more smoothly and efficiently gradually began to replace that old feeling of working hard to run. My breathing became less labored, my muscles were not getting sore, and many times I would feel better at the end of a run than I did when I started. I could go out for a thirty-mile run and come back without any major discomfort: an exhilarating realization. "Postrun recovery" began to take on a whole new meaning -- hours instead of days, and sometimes no time at all. This is when I realized that I was onto something very cool. Since my discovery in 1998, I have not had a running injury of any kind (knock on wood), despite a heavy teaching, training, and racing schedule.

In 1999 I moved from Boulder to San Francisco, feeling a great sense of loss at having to leave Master Zhu. When I first arrived, I ran through Golden Gate Park, looking for a new T'ai Chi teacher. Each day I'd see many small groups practicing their moves, and there would be Master Xu, who always had only one student. He would be manually moving his subject into various postures, like an artist shaping a clay figure. He was totally attentive to his students in a way that I never witnessed in any of the other teachers. After seeing him numerous times at the same spot, I decided to ask him if he would be my teacher. I introduced myself and said, "I don't care if I ever learn T'ai Chi, but I want to learn how to apply what you do to my running." His face lit up. "I've always had a theory," he said, "that one could take all the principles of T'ai Chi and use them in any sport. Come back in three months."

That was it. He never gave me his name or phone number. Just "Come back in three months." What could I say? So, after ninety days of waiting, I went back and found him in the same spot where I left him. I reminded him who I was, to which he responded, "Okay, start tomorrow." I fully expected him to end his sentence with "grasshopper." As it turns out, George Xu is an internationally known T'ai Chi master who leads seminars all over the world and has produced an extensive collection of videotapes documenting many Chinese masters of almost every martial art in China. Since that day, Master Xu (pronounced "shoe") has had a huge impact on the further development of what I have come to call ChiRunning. He has not only confirmed and clarified all that I'd discovered prior to meeting him, he has helped me to synthesize the themes of T'ai Chi with what I've learned about running.

I've always loved to watch people run. It's wonderful to see how many different types of bodies there are and how many different ways they run. But if you want to see what's really going on with a runner, watch her face. If you watch children run, they're generally all smiles. But what I see more often than not in adults is an expression that ranges somewhere between discomfort and terror. Lots of folks leave me with the impression that they're not enjoying themselves. No wonder running has a bad rap. What happened to all those smiles?

We need to reeducate ourselves to move in the ways we were designed to move. Most people are never taught how to run. It's one of those things we all take for granted because everyone runs soon after learning to walk. Go to any fitness center or gym or continuing-education catalog, and you'll find classes in every sport on the planet except running. This was a big part of what convinced me to become a full-time coach and running instructor. As I brought more of the inner focuses of T'ai Chi into my running classes, the students began to see immediate and dramatic changes in their performance and outlook. Since introducing the ChiRunning technique to the general public, I've seen many of those smiles reappear.

Through my T'ai Chi teachers, I have learned that losing the beautiful ease of movement we had as children is part of the process of maturing as a human being. Children move naturally but not consciously. It is our job, as adults, to learn how to consciously move through life with that same flow and beauty. It is through conscious action and understanding that we can become masters of our bodies and ourselves. The ChiRunning technique is the vehicle that will allow you to experience once again what it's like to run with a sense of power and connection in your body.

I still don't consider myself an exceptional runner. When I run, I rely almost entirely on inner focuses and technique rather than on talent or physical strength. Ultimately, ChiRunning is not about being an accomplished runner, it's about what you come away with. It's learning how to listen to your body and adjust appropriately to improve your form and enhance your performance. It's learning how to sense your body, your actions, and the results of your actions; how to learn from what you do and what you feel. It's learning how to use running as a vehicle to discover yourself on many levels.

If you would like to improve your running form, have fewer injuries, develop your own training program, and be able to run into your old age, then this book is for you.

If you would like to increase your overall health and well-being, this book is for you, too.

If you would like to learn to be more centered and have more of a mindful approach to your running and your life, this book is also for you. ChiRunning is not so much about the running as it is about the chi. It's about having a focused and energetic relationship with your body. It means learning how to be your own best friend, teacher and guide -- how to be mindful, quiet, and energetic all at the same time. Sound great? It is.

How to Use This Book

I'd like to take a minute here and clue you in on what to expect in the coming chapters. As a fair warning, I do not get into explaining the technique of ChiRunning until Chapter 4. So if it feels like I'm taking forever to get to the good stuff, there's a reason. This book tells you not only how to be a better runner, it also offers you the opportunity to develop qualities from running that you can use in the rest of your life. This approach to running is best understood when you can see the background and logic supporting it. The first three chapters are dedicated to laying out the philosophical foundation, so when I give you the specifics of the technique, they will all make sense.

Chapter 1 compares the present paradigm of running, power running, to ChiRunning, the proverbial new kid on the block.

Chapter 2 introduces you to the five Principles, or natural laws, upon which T'ai Chi and ChiRunning are based. When your movements are in sync with the laws of Nature, you have one of the best support systems around, to put it mildly.

Chapter 3 will explain to you the "inner" skills of ChiRunning, which I call Chi-Skills. Learning these four mind/body skills will change your running into an entirely new activity.

Chapter 4 introduces you to the ChiRunning focuses, which are the specific physical and mental methods used to run more smoothly, efficiently, and injury-free.

Chapters 5 through 9 teach you how to bring the ChiRunning technique into your running program including program development, peak performance training, and diet. Chapter 10 then tells you how to bring the ChiRunning principles into your everyday life.

I would suggest reading the book straight through once. Then go back and reread portions that you didn't feel clear on. My favorite trick with a manual is to mark all of my favorite sections with a tab, labeled for easy reference. If you want something more permanent and reliable, go to your local office-supply store, buy some stick-on plastic tabs, and go crazy. I'd mark all the exercises, drills, focuses, and tips so you can access the information easily if you're on your way out the door for a run. Believe me, you will use this book more often if you have a system in which the information is at your fingertips.

I've found that the body and mind learn best through repetition. For this reason, I recommend that you reread this book several times, then at least once a year, to keep your mind and body refreshed with the process and terminology. Take your time, and you'll learn more, faster.

Learning the basic ChiRunning technique can take anywhere from one to three months for the average runner, but the greater knowledge gained from the approach will be something that, when practiced regularly, will influence your thoughts and actions for the rest of your life.

Copyright © 2004 by Danny Dreyer --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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 --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • CD: 3 pages
  • Editeur : Sounds True Inc; Édition : abridged edition (1 janvier 2009)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1591796539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591796534
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,7 x 1,3 x 14,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 30.387 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Excalibur 45 TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS le 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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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par S. Christophe le 10 août 2012
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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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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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1.130 internautes sur 1.262 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Critical Review of ChiRunning by a barefoot runner 13 novembre 2009
Par Lincoln - Publié sur
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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!
393 internautes sur 437 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Danny's Methods Gave Me Back My Running Life 7 mai 2004
Par Jerry L Fletcher - Publié sur
Format: Broché
[...] 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
134 internautes sur 159 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
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.
70 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Interesting technique, but less the expected 16 septembre 2006
Par S. Sutton - Publié sur
Format: Broché
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.
23 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fit to be Chi'ed 4 septembre 2011
Par M. Olson - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
In ChiRunning (and its other marketing permutations, including workshops) Dreyer advocates a running technique that is used by many world-class runners. It has to do with particular physical postures while running such as a forward lean. Dreyer didn't develop the technique nor was he the first to write about it. But to his credit, he did recognize that the technique works and adopted it in his own running. However, Dreyer was undoubtedly confronted with a challenge when he sat down to write his first book - how does a woodworker (his vocation for 15 years) who began running ultra-marathons as an adult sell books and workshops on running in a culture that wants to know what your credentials are? The answer is add a pinch of Eastern mysticism (Tai Chi) and voila, ChiRunning! Understand that the running technique that Dreyer advocates did not arise out of Tai Chi. Rather, Dreyer resorts to referring to a Tai Chi master he bumped into while running as someone who is supportive of the running technique Dreyer advocates. Dreyer (and many others before him) already used the technique; this particular Tai Chi master has now also given his benediction. In fairness to Dreyer, he does use Tai Chi principles (such as "going with the flow" and "the path of least resistance") in his mental and spiritual approach to running. But these principles are separable from the running technique. You don't, for example, need to "tap into your Chi" to begin running with a forward lean. Not surprisingly, Dreyer's explanations for why the technique works are a hodge podge. Lacking a background in physiology, anatomy, biomechanics, or physics, his explanations of the mechanics of running movements are, at best, amateurish. As a result, the reader is confronted with absurd section headings such as "The stages of learning effortless, injury free running." The most technically efficient runner in the world expends plenty of effort while running (and trains accordingly). And even Dreyer admits he took 3 and ½ years to prepare for his first ultra-marathon. In these instances Eastern mysticism serves as a smokescreen for Dreyer's lack of expertise regarding the fundamental physical forces and principles at work while a person runs. The book is also woefully short on drills for implementing the changes most runners will have to make to implement the physical techniques Dreyer recommends. As anyone who has ever participated in a sport knows, learning even basic techniques requires concerted effort and practice. Dreyer's short list of drills includes such admonitions as concentrating on rotating your pelvis from the T12/L1 spinal column level (ever tried that one?) and to have someone shout at you to "Stop Running!" to make you mindful of how you move when you are trying to move fast but can't run. ChiRunning will introduce you to a more efficient technique for running. But if you want to have a substantially similar technique explained by someone who actually knows about the mechanics of running and has a more systematic program for incorporating recommended changes, I would recommend Dr. Nicholas Romanov's Pose Method of Running. Romanov is a Russian trained sports scientist who has coached Olympic athletes and has the sports and running expertise Dreyer lacks.
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