Review of Chi Running by Danny Dryer
I began looking at Chi Running in March of this year and have used the iPhone app, bought the book, reviewed YouTube videos and recently added his “Silver+” membership with online instruction. I think I get it, have more than 20 runs utilizing what I believe are his methods, and have the following review to offer. Again, I will never recommend anything I haven’t tried and accept no payment for any review. Here is my honest review of the method:
The impetus to look at Chi Running came from my backache when I ran my way. I ran from 1973 until about 2004 with the only problem being some foot pain and occasional knee pain that was helped for many years with orthotics, but worsened to the point of me not wishing to push it. I biked fairly consistently over the same period and simply turned to that activity as my aerobic mainstay. About a year and a half ago I decided to give running another try. The convenience and simplicity of running, and the capacity to get a great workout quickly is always a draw.
Trying to return to running went great initially, but soon I was being nagged by back pain. I tried changing style and method on my own and cross training, but nothing was very effective, though my Pilates mat work was the most helpful. I ended up heading to the Mayo Clinic’s physical therapy department. They helped me work on the same muscle groups that Pilates focused on, and it wasn’t very useful. During my last session, one of the other therapists mentioned Chi Running. I was clueless but always interested in the things I don’t know.
I went online and looked at YouTube videos and bought the Chi Running book. The method seemed to address some of the problems I was having and focused on minimum impact. While the method isn’t complicated, it takes quite an effort and focus to change the way you run. I bought the app for my iPhone and found it helpful for both the style reminders and metronome. It was particularly helpful in maintaining focus on the new style and not falling back into old and bad habits.
Here’s the fun part – NO MORE BACK PAIN! Gone. NADA. Total success on that account. That was what I came to Chi Running for and it was a dashing(sorry) success! I then added the Silver+ program at around $200 which provides brief weekly video and audio lessons or focus areas to continue to improve. They are quite helpful to keep the focus and enthusiasm going, but it’s really the basics that I needed and found with Chi Running.
Overall Grade for Method = A+ , meets all goals at reasonable cost and effort
Book – Chi Running = B- The book is helpful, but reading about doing something like running is not that helpful in my view, and it certainly wasn’t a cover to cover read for me. The book strikes me as more of a reference text.
Application = A The application is extremely helpful when starting out. Each minute it provides a style reminder or focus to consider. There is a metronome to assist with pacing, as Chi Running requires a faster pace than I was used to and uses the same pace for every running speed. It also tracks speed, distance, history, etc., all very conveniently. On the negative side, after a few months the style reminders get repetitious, though they do cover all the basics. At about $10, the application is well worth it.
Silver + membership = A While I've only been a member briefly, this is a very impressive compilation of areas to focus on. The membership provides brief lessons on very specific aspects of running, among other things like webinars, etc. The lessons are available on an as needed basis and also delivered in order on a weekly basis to my inbox. These reminders are very helpful not only in terms of continuous improvement, but in maintaining enthusiasm for the sport.
I’ll admit to unadulterated enthusiasm for Chi Running since it allows me to reconnect with an activity that I thought I’d given up. Kudos Danny! Still, I must confess I’m not really into the “Chi” thing, at least not yet, and didn’t come to Chi Running via that route. I came to Chi Running to find a physically comfortable way to run and escape the pain that stopped me. After months of regular runs, all I can say is A+. For more information go to www.chirunning.com
And that runner in the stock photo above, no, not Chi Running.