Friday, May 15, 2009

Find your chi and run with it

UPDATE: Cost of the workshop has just been reduced from $125 to $95! I've also added some specifics about what the workshop will cover.

Imagine being able to run for virtually as long as you want, without ever having to worry about injury. Sounds OK, right? Now imagine also being able to run without effort. Sounds divine.

But possible? I can't be sure. Then again, I've not yet tried "ChiRunning," a style that incorporates a slight lean forward and a midsole foot strike instead of the typical heel-toe method.

Proponents -- and their numbers are growing -- maintain that these seemingly minor changes in technique produce major results; they say the adjustments make running feel more effortless, while also reducing fatigue and shin and knee strain. (Running Times earlier this year featured an article that mentioned ChiRunning and similar philosophies/methods that encourage tweaks in gait and running form. Read it here.)

If you're interested in learning more from a certified local coach, there's an opportunity on the horizon: Charlottean Amy Peacock, one of about 100 certified ChiRunning instructors worldwide, is giving a three-hour workshop in Myers Park on the morning of June 20.

Peacock (that's her, at right) describes ChiRunning as taking running "from a fitness sport to more of a holistic practice, similar to yoga, t'ai chi and pilates." Target audience? "Marathoners, ultramarathoners and daily runners who want to cover long distances without a lot of pain. ... Even beginners -- I prefer they learn the correct form before stacking on more miles."

The workshop will cover: the physics of running; how to use your posture, legs and arms efficiently; personal check-in tricks; core muscle drills and exercises; and how to eliminate knee, hip and IT band injuries.

One question I posed to Peacock after learning about her workshop: So if someone enjoyed it and wanted to get more advanced instruction, what are their options? In other words, after the workshop, one might go out and try to apply what they learned, but maybe they wind up doing it improperly. How would someone know they were forming good habits and not bad ones in the aftermath?

She responded, "There is a lot to learn in (three hours), so I offer a little outside running bonus for those who can stay at least an hour longer to coach them along. I take people outside to show them proper technique on hills ... since we have so many around here! There will be handouts that I will have available to participants so they can practice on their own. I will also be available by e-mail and in person to answer any follow up questions. Finally, my plan is to start a ChiRunning running group for my attendees, so people could get help there, too."

Interested? Here are the details:

When: 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 20.
Where: Myers Park Presbyterian Church gym, 2501 Oxford Place.
Cost: $95 per person.
Availability: 14 spots left.
To register: Click here.
More info: Click here, e-mail Amy by clicking here, or call 704-299-8134.


Anonymous said...

So how does it affect your speed? Positively, negatively, or not at all? I'd probably tend to follow the ways of the world class runners - Hall, Goucher, etc...