Practice Chi Walking to Improve Your Chi Running - Chi Running

Practice Chi Walking to Improve Your Chi Running

Posted by Doug Dapo on Mon Oct 3rd, 2011, 3 comments

For many years, my preferred way to unwind and recharge was to run. I never used to take walking that seriously. If I went out to exercise, it was always to run. I even had a somewhat negative view of walking. During my runs, stopping to walk was almost considered as “taboo.” If I was moving with my feet, then I thought that the best use of my time and energy was to run. Walking was just something I did if I was not running. But when you stop and think about it, we spend a lot of time on our feet walking to get around. Since practicing the Chi Running technique, I have discovered what a treasure Chi Walking is. I am beginning to tap into some of the wonderful benefits of the Chi Walking technique.

There are many similarities between the Chi Running technique and the Chi Walking technique. For instance, learning good posture with alignment and relaxation, which is critical for efficient and injury- free movement in the body, is the foundation for both techniques.

I am beginning to realize that Chi Running and Chi Walking greatly complement each other. When you're not Chi Running, Chi Walking can give you a wonderful cross-training experience to enhance your fitness program. Chi Walking is also a great way to transition into your running.

Sometimes after a long day at work when I go out running, I feel like my body is not quite ready to get moving. I really like transitioning into running by practicing my Chi Walking first. This is so relaxing. I will use my metronome and set it for a slow strolling pace. After I feel warmed up, I will increase my running cadence to a medium-paced walk. All the while, I am listening to my body, letting go of the day, enjoying the scenery around me, breathing and moving with alignment and relaxation. When my body feels ready, I will go into a fast-paced walk. I love the feeling that as my foot lands, the ground helps to pull my leg out the back and at the same time my leg pulls my hip back. I feel like I am gliding along the surface of the ground. Here, I can feel my pelvic rotation, which is so therapeutic. I can feel my lower back relaxing with the fluid motion of the disks in my lower spine cooperating with the rotation of my hips. Because Chi Walking moves at a slower pace than Chi Running, I am better able to feel my pelvic rotation when practicing Chi Walking. I memorize this feeling of my pelvic rotation when I walk and then I try to feel it again and allow it to happen when I run.

At the Chi Running Workshop at the Omega Institute, Danny Dreyer shared with us what his master Tai’ Chi Instructor said which was when you stop moving your spine, you begin to die. Wow, how important it is to keep our spine fluid and relaxed and moving! I am experiencing that an excellent way to keep my spine moving is with Chi Walking.

Well, there I am enjoying my Chi Walking experience so much that before I realize it thirty minutes have gone by and I haven’t even started my run yet. This is OK because when I am Chi Walking, I am practicing a lot of the same focuses that will help me when I run. Now, walking for me is not just something I do if I am not running. I am walking with purpose and intent by practicing my Chi Walking focuses. My Chi Walking and Chi Running go hand in hand. One helps the other. For this reason, I have been recommending that if you want to improve your Chi Running, then practice Chi Walking!



  • ChiWalking to improve ChiRunning,
  • Walk-Run

3 CommentsLeave a comment below

Laura Houston Oct 3rd, 2011 10:33pm

Great post, Doug. And great reminder to listen to your body and not push it at the end of a long workday if it’s not ready. Thanks for posting this!

Ah, finally. I’ve been given the license to walk instead of running even when body sensing tells me I should stop but my ego takes over:) And I don’t have to beat myself up because I didn’t complete my workout without walking. But seriously, your article makes perfect sense. After all that Chirunning practice, I’ve just picked up the Chiwalking book to review my core form, and I realised while attempting to Chiwalk, that it’s easier to imprint in my muscle memory, the correct form when I walk. Now, I check my alignment all the time whenever I’m on my feeting walking anywhere!

ozzie gontang Oct 21st, 2011 05:10pm

Danny and Katherine saw the connection between ChiRunning and ChiWalking.  Everyone has heard that “Practice makes perfect.”  The truth is “Practice makes permanent.”  So if you practice ChiRunning and use your old style of walking you are missing the point: “Perfect practice makes perfect.”  Walking or running is all about falling and catching myself perfectly so I roll over the ground with the emphasis on “Over.” If you are walking and hitting on the back of the heel of the shoe, you need to think ChiWalking.

You can walk or run gracefully or clumsily.  Go for the grace!

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Just wanted to say that after reading Chi Running and trying it for a week, I felt like it finally "clicked", and I cannot even remember how to run the old way (which I did faithfully for over 20 years). 

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