Chi Walk-Run Your Way To Fitness and Health

« Go Back

Exciting news from ChiLiving!

Danny and Katherine Dreyer have completed the development of the first DVD and Program on the Chi Walk-Run approach. Based upon the foundations of ChiRunning and ChiWalking, the Walk-Run approach offers another energy efficient and injury-free way to move forward.  Concurrent with the release of this interesting and informative DVD and the accompanying Program, a new blog has been launched to focus on Chi Walk-Run and I am pleased to have been asked to take the lead in making this blog a reality.

In this, my first Chi Walk-Run blog, I would like to introduce some of the basic ideas/issues of the Walk-Run model and to share my recent experience completing a Half Marathon using the Chi Walk-Run approach. What do we mean by Walk-Run, who might find it of interest, when is it most useful, how can it be learned, etc.?

Briefly speaking, combining walking and running (more specifically, ChiWalking and ChiRunning) in your fitness workout is pretty straightforward and creates new opportunities for aerobic activity and benefits that may be harder to attain with a strict walking-only or running-only approach. Some people choose to be “runners”, some choose to be “walkers” but there are many people who would like to do both  – and to feel good about doing both. There are also people who aren’t aware that combining walking and running is even a possibility – they may see walking as “less than” running or they see running as “too competitive” or “too strenuous” but it hasn’t occurred to them to combine the two forms of movement for increased personal value overall.

Rather than simply prescribing how much walking and how much running to do in a workout or race, and calling that a Walk-Run program,  we at ChiLiving take a more individualized approach to Walk-Run that emphasizes energy efficiency, self-awareness and personal choice and responsibility. Within a reasonable and sometimes variable ratio of walking to running, we suggest that people be guided by a self-monitoring process. How much walking and how much running is best suited to your goals? How are you feeling today and what level of self-perceived effort are you looking for at this time? Perhaps you would like to work up to totally running certain events.

Let me use my experience of doing Walk-run in the recent Humboldt Redwoods Half Marathon in Northern California to exemplify what I am talking about. My preparation for this race included a number of my usual Walk-Run workouts so I felt “ready” for completing the Half using this approach. (FYI, sometimes I run all of a race and other times I may totally walk a race).  At the Humboldt Redwoods, over the 13.1 miles, I probably went back and forth between walking and running about 20 times, varying one or the other to a mile or so. My ongoing guiding principle/coach was “energy efficiency” which included such things as my attitude, my body sensing (physical state) as to what suited me at a particular time, the terrain (level? uphill? downhill?) and what could handle it best, working with gravity in general, and more. Without getting into the mechanics of transitioning from walking to running and vice versa, let me just say that the actual process of keeping both ChiWalking and ChiRunning in my awareness with the focus on one of them at a time, was very manageable and very valuable. There was a true sense of teamwork with walking and running being equal partners, allies in a shared undertaking and purpose; and there was a smooth transition between the two.

The half marathon was pain-free and injury-free as I never felt tired nor stressed nor strained by what I was doing. Compared to doing a Half either totally running or totally walking, it felt even more pain-free and effortless. At the end, I was still full of energy with a completion time not much more than if I had tried running the whole distance. One of the fun aspects of  Walk-Run in this event was the “leapfrogging” I did with my runner-gal friend whose running was faster than I walked but slower than my running speed, resulting in a hand-in-hand, joint finish that we both enjoyed immensely. And, needless to say, my recovery from the half was pretty much instantaneous – no sore muscles, no super tired feeling, just a relaxed calmness after completion and in the hours and days to follow. For me, it was a clear validation of some of the benefits of the Walk-Run approach.

Next blog, I’ll say more about fitness workouts using Chi Walk-Run and describe some of the “mechanics” of putting ChiWalking and ChiRunning together in his way. In the meantime, give it a try – I’m sure you’ll find it a positive and rewarding experience.

Posted in Technique

Related Articles