ChiRunning – the Aha Workshop!

This morning I had my one-on-one workshop with Certified ChiRunning Instructor Ryan Miller. It was a morning of Aha moments!

We started with a quick warm up run which gave us a chance to talk about some of my concerns:

  • making sure I’m actually doing a mid-foot strike
  • leaning from my ankles, and using the lean to control my pace, and
  • managing hills (both the up and the down)

Ryan video-taped me running and then we worked through some exercises to help give me a better feel for the lean and wheel-like motion your lower leg should be making. It was clear that I’ve been running much more on my forefoot than my mid-foot. Ryan suggested that I think more about landing “whole foot.” He also suggested that I try running barefoot on a track so I can develop a better feel for my foot contact with the ground. He also agreed with my plan to shift to a more minimalist shoe with a lower toe-to-heel ratio.

We covered so much it’s really impossible to do it all justice in just one post. Some of my big take-aways included:

  • learning to relax my lower legs
  • when I hit mid-foot or “whole foot” I don’t hear the scuffing sound that I do when I hit forefoot, and my strike feels lighter
  • using my upper body more to propel myself uphill and rotating from my hips to flow downhill
  • finding comfort in the first gear and using the lean to both increase and decrease my speed

Ryan was great to work with – so patient and easy-going, and clearly passionate about his running. He had a great way of distilling a lot of information into manageable pieces. As we’d run, he could suggest just the smallest of adjustments and I could quickly feel a difference – and I was always surprised by how effortless it felt. He kept reminding me the goal is to “maximize momentum while lowering resistance.” We concluded our session with another video taping – I can’t wait to compare the “before” and “after” when he sends me the videos!

I left feeling like I now know what to be aware of, of how the run should feel. In fact, I was so psyched by what I had learned that as soon as I drove home, I went out for a quick 3-mile run. I went sans iPod, which is big for me, but I wanted to really tune in and listen to my footstrike and my breathing.

While watching the ChiRunning DVD is definitely worthwhile, having the opportunity to work with Ryan has really taken my understanding to a whole new level. If you are interested in learning more about ChiRunning, I highly encourage you connect with a certified instructor in your area or find a ChiRunning workshop nearby and make the trip!



  1. That sounds great! I am not good at learning how to do something by reading or watching — I have to do it. I think I need a multi-day clinic to internalize everything.

  2. thanks for sharing Michelle! I will have to try to get through the book and maybe find a clinic

  3. Sounds like a GREAT workshop. I haven’t read much about ChiRunning, but they have workshops where I work sometimes. May have to go check one out. I’ve been focusing on the lean-from-the-ankles approach for a few months, and it really does help stay away from the heel strike. I hope this helps you find a form that works for you. Mine is still a work in progress.

  4. I have never heard of Chirunning, Interesting.

    I will be looking this up!

    Sounds like you really benefited from it.

  5. Great post, Michelle. My fitness program; Attitude, has a running club called “Run With Attitude”!

    Good luck to you! I will definitely check out your blog to see how your first 1/2 marathon goes.

    Chi Running is amazing!

  6. I have often thought about going to a running instructor and getting a video taping and analysis of my running style. I haven’t heard much about ChiRunning – but think it will be something I check out. thanks for the post.

  7. What a cool opportunity! I would love to have someone really look at my gait and give me small tweaks to make it more efficient. Very cool.

  8. That is great! I took his workshop SuperBowl Sunday and loved it. He is a great teacher. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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