Book Review: Chi Running
I first heard about Chi Running when I was living in Ohio, but never learned much about it, except that an increased cadence is one of the components of the program. When I saw an audiobook on my local library's website, I was quite quick to check it out! My only regret is not listening to this 7 years ago when I first experienced injury. It was fantastic!
The audiobook is relatively short, running 3 hours and 46 minutes, but it is packed with wisdom and exercises to refine your running for to run effortlessly and injury-free! Instead of reading the printed version of his book Chi Running, the audiobook is more of a program led by the author, Danny Dreyer, including a short booklet including images to help you complete the exercises as described by Dreyer.
Chi Running applies the principles of T'ai Chi to running. It is a program of body awareness, balance, and achieving efficiency to run injury free. A lot of the principles that Dreyer discusses, I have heard in similar terms with regards to my study of both Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method. Concepts he addresses include, posture, lean, breathing, cadence, foot-strike, balance, and stride. He also walks the listener through a series of "body looseners" which I think is a great way to this about relaxing the body.
His discussion on cadence is also very informative. His suggestion for increasing your running cadence is to increase slowly by means of gradual progress. In other words, find your current cadence and run with a metronome at that speed for a week. And then week by week increase your cadence by a single metronome mark.
I highly recommend this to everyone who runs! While many of the concepts were very familiar with me, it was a great course. Additionally, as I apply the new to me concepts of Chi Running to my own running, it just feels so much better and efficient. When I get to that part of the run were I feel just a bit sluggish, I remember that it doesn't have to feel this way and I start thinking about my posture or my lean and allowing gravity to do the work and BAM, it feels great again! I have also been able to apply a lot of the concepts to my body usage as a musician and with the students I work with. It's great!