ChiRunning a Marathon in Tokyo

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I bought the ChiRunning book a few weeks back and have only been able to try it on 3 long runs so far, but I am already seeing a difference in how efficient I am able to run.

I have run in 3 half marathons and one full marathon in the past 5 years. My running career started when I started walking about 15 years ago.  My walks became longer and longer, and eventually I started jogging a little in the middle of my walks. The time spent jogging became longer and longer, until eventually I was jogging for most of the time.

At one point, I thought I should enter an organized run since I was running so much each week anyway. When I looked online to see what kind of race to try, I found the number of miles I was running per week matched a training schedule for a half marathon. So that’s when I started training for my first one.

When I was at the starting line of the Tokyo Marathon earlier this year, I met someone who later suggested I read ChiRunning. So I bought it and liked the idea of being able to run longer more efficiently and without injury. I have always been bothered by nagging shin, achilles tendon, and ankle injuries.

I read several chapters and then tried out some of what I learned on my 12 mile Sunday run. I was surprised how much of a difference I saw. I didn’t feel as worn out during the second half of my run like I usually am, and my time was closer to a race time for me than my slower training time.

This morning I ran 10 miles and noticed something pretty amazing about 7 or 8 miles into it. I was concentrating on keeping my chin down, the back of my head up and my neck stretched out, and on keeping my elbows bent and behind me, and my shoulders relaxed. Suddenly, it felt like I was being lifted up by the back of my neck and shoulders, and that my arms and legs were just moving along for the ride – they weren’t doing the work. It felt sort of like what I imagine a kitten feels like when its mother picks it up by the back of the neck, but it also felt I was being lifted up by my shoulders, too. So it was more like I was hanging from a hanger and being pulled along. It truly felt effortless.

This feeling only lasted a little while, but it is enough for me to keep trying the techniques so I can try to get that feeling back as much as I can while running.


Matt O.