Life Changing Experience and Advice Offered
I have had knee problems ever since a football injury when I was 17. While I ran as a young adult and into my 50's, I did ok but always had knee pain and knee swelling. I routinely went to orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to get advice, and while their advice was helpful, I still was limited in how far I could run. Running hills was out of the question.
The physical therapy, yoga, and T'ai Chi helped, but I still had problems. I picked up your book in 2005, read it, but never really applied it like I should have. Last year, when I was 57, I bought the DVD and half-marathon training book and really studied them. I'm an engineer and the descriptions of the physical concept of Chi Running made a lot of sense to me. I tried to follow the examples as best I could. The results have been miraculous for me. I'm now running faster and longer (even on extreme hills) than I ever had since I was 17. My weekly average run is between 20 and 30 miles. The best news is that I'm having no lingering pain. My 40 years of knee pain is gone. I'm swimming, biking, backpacking without knee pain. My other imbalance pains to shins, achilles, toes, etc. are gone. I was able to run 17 miles in two days and I felt great.
I've kind of done my own analysis on what is going on and I've come up with a few things that may help others.
• Start slow and easy and get the technique as good as you can do.
• Spend a lot of time with hip rotation. (I altered the way I walk and try to be mindful about my hip rotation and mid-foot strike when I'm walking anywhere.) I really think hip rotation is a key, as you point out on the CD. The more I'm able to let my hips rotate, the better I do, particularly on downhill. I was nearly laughing the other day on a downhill segment because I was going so fast and really didn't feel any stress at all. The other thing with hip rotation is that it seems to remove or dampens the up and down motion. While running next to other runners, I can see their heads bobbing up and down, but I'm kind of on a level plane.
• Take a class in Tai Chi.
• Review the DVD often. (The book has some really good detail and gets into many other aspects of running, but the DVD was the most useful to me.)
Thank you so much for your instructions. It really has changed my life. Unfortunately, I've already lost 2 Seiko metronomes. I think they should come with a tether and an earphone jack.
A few more comments: I've found airports are a great place to watch little kids running and I think the book points out that kids run naturally, which I observe at the airport easily. I've also been a lot more aware of others' running styles. It's really amazing the differences out there. A lot of the better runners I have seen look like they have similar Chi Running mechanics even if they are not Chi Runners.
My final comment was from the high school lifeguard at the pool where I'm learning to swim correctly - "Wow, you look in awesome shape." I'm a very modest, reserved person and this comment blew me away!
Thanks again for everything that you have done for me.