A Few Thoughts on Falling While Chi Running - Chi Running

A Few Thoughts on Falling While Chi Running

Posted by Elizabeth Frost on Wed Mar 16th, 2011, 6 comments

As the Chi Running book recommends, "If you're running on a very rocky trail, wear cycling gloves. They have padded palms in case you do a face plant ..."

Oh, if only I had followed that piece of advice! But I had good reasons not to wear cycling gloves this morning:

  1. I had other gloves on
  2. I was running on flat terrain
  3. I was running on concrete

So why would cycling gloves have been helpful? Because about 20 minutes into running, I found myself sailing toward the sidwalk, hands thrown out, eyes wide - BAM! I hit the concrete, hard.

Having removed my "real" running gloves because I was too warm, and admittedly distracted by my monkey-brain as it flitted all over thinking about anything and everything, my poor palms were exposed to the ravages of cold, hard cement. And, of course, there were cars driving by, on their way to work and school; if I were driving one of those cars and had seen me falling down on perfectly flat terrain, I would have probably laughed!

Oliver was with me, but I can't blame him for tripping me; he was (oddly) running a safe distance behind me on his long leash. Maybe he knew my fate before I did!

As I sat up to assess the damage, he came over and licked my face, glad I was on the same plane as he. There's nothing like a scraped knee to take you hurtling back to the memories of childhood. Plenty bloody on palms and knees, I got up and "walked it off". After several minutes the sting had worn off and I finished running gingerly and with more focus.

At the moment I fell I was so angry with myself, I was almost in tears, but within a few mintues, all I could do was laugh.

Luckily, I have only peripheral damage; my bones and ligaments appear to be intact, thank goodness.

A few things to consider if you're a twinkle-toes like me:

  1. To prevent falling, pick up your feet while running. Remember that this doesn't involve lifting your knees, but instead leaving your knees down and lifting your ankles.
  2. Stay focused. I was thinking about how I can incorporate more walking into my exercise routine and what that would look like on a daily basis and - BAM, I was on the ground. Remember to think about what you're doing!
  3. Stay soft if you fall. One of the most-recommended ways to fall, whether it's from your feet while running, or from a bike or from a ladder, is to stay limp. Children are prime examples of this; they fall all day long, and although they have plenty of bruises and scrapes, most often no structural damage happens because they're so relaxed.
  4. Assess the damage. If you fall, before you get up and start running away from the scene of the crime, make sure you're okay. Check to make sure your ankles, wrists, elbows, knees and neck are okay. If you're a bit bloody, that's okay. In my case I just left the wounds alone until I got home where I washed them out with warm water, soap, hydrogen peroxide, and applied a bit of antibiotic to keep them clean.
  5. Laugh it off. It's always fun to tell a good story about yourself, and when I got to the office, we all got a good laugh out of my antics. Typing and doing everyday activities is going to be a bit of a hassle for a few days, but I plan to just grin and bear it!


  • falling,
  • scraped knees,
  • running on roads,
  • how to fall when running

6 CommentsLeave a comment below

Tip number 5 is right on.  I did a face plant on Christmas morning - thinking of all the things I needed to do to get ready for the day. Well, I wound up with two black eyes by the end of the day - lovely!  Fortunately I have a great family and in-law family, and it generated lots of jokes, and instead of being embarrassed or focusing on how much my nose/eyes hurt, I laughed so hard my stomach hurt!
PS - I went out the next day and did 8 miles.

Elizabeth Frost Mar 16th, 2011 11:19am

Judi - That’s awesome! I am glad to hear that your family was able to laugh with you and make it more fun than painful. Dusting yourself off and going for a run the next day is a GREAT way to conquer the hurt, too! Thanks for taking the time to comment - Liz

Laura Houston Mar 16th, 2011 11:35pm

Oh man - glad you are okay! I cannot count the number of falls I’ve taken in my running career! Sidewalks seem to be the worst, especially in a heavily populated area. Then your ego takes a bruising too! Ha ha! On the trail, if you draw blood, you get bonus points, not to mention good stories! Take care and tell Oliver to keep staying in the safe zone! ;p

Robert Latchford Mar 17th, 2011 12:15pm

I saw an article in the London Evening standard by Michelle Muldoon about ChiRunning and decided to look into it. Last night I practiced the new technique as gleaned from various tidbits on the web. I must admit it felt pretty good and reminded me of running along the beach back in NZ. Is there a directory of trainers for ChiRunning in UK?

Elizabeth Frost Mar 24th, 2011 09:19am

Hi Robert, Many thanks for your note. Yes, the article in the London newspaper was excellent.

If you navigate to this webpage: http://www.chiliving.com/learn-it/find-an-instructor/

you can then click on the “International” tab, the “Great Britain” subsection and it will open the whole list of UK Certified Instructors.

Hope that helps!

A comment about number 4. There can be damage from a Fall that isn’t immediately apparent. I took a hard fall in a trail race 3 days after this post. I was bleeding from abrasions around the knee but otherwise was ok. I kept going and complete the remaining 13 miles of the 50k.  I started having knee issues after the race that was first diagnosed as ITBS and then meniscus damage through a MRI. When I had the surgery a lesion was discovered in the articular cartilage on the tibia. The surgeon performed microfracture surgery on the lesion and a day on crutches turned into 4 weeks and a long rehab.

Lessons learned
Falls while running can be a lot more than embarrassing. 

Be sure you know all the possible outcomes before surgery to avoid a really bad surprise.

What are your thoughts?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Top 100 Runnning Blogs award
A Chi Running Love Letter image

A Chi Running Love Letter

I'm so excited that I'm compelled to write! I lost 65 pounds last year and I've spent the year doing step aerobics, weightlifting and various dance/excercise classes, some pilates, some yoga, etc.  

Read This Story >