Running Form and AHA Moments - Chi Running

Running Form and AHA Moments

Posted by Ryan Miller on Thu Nov 12th, 2009, 2 comments

How long does it take to get it? I get this question all the time, and it is a difficult one to answer. In my own experience, I have “gotten it” several different times over the course of practicing my running form. We call these “AHA moments.” Those moments where everything clicks and you say “AHA, I got it!” These AHA moments add a tremendous amount of joy to my running practice. As in learning any skill, when things suddenly click, and your brain and body are synced up, magic begins to happen…

Like many others, I’ve experienced several AHA moments throughout my ChiRunning practice. I had several when I first read the book, and continue to have them during my running and walking practice. This is the beauty of ChiRunning, by practicing your running form you are constantly learning something about your body, your mind, and yourself.

AHA moments come in all forms and sizes. You might have a physical AHA moment, such as feeling gravity pull you forward, rather than using your legs to propel you. One of the more profound AHA moment s for me was an emotional one. It was my senior year of college. I was slowly transitioning from power running to ChiRunning. As I entered the championship part of the season I ran a continuous streak of PRs in the 10K. I had an emotional attachment to making the national meet, which requires you run a certain time to qualify. Through my ChiRunning practice I found that by NOT focusing on time, my race times improved DRAMATICALLY.

I ran 32:42, 32:20, 31:52 and 5 days after that 31:15. There was no recovery time needed from these races. The 31:15 was truly a magical race for me. Everything aligned and flowed smoothly that day. By focusing on my running form and not the clock, the entire race became one giant AHA moment. Even though I set a 37 second 10K PR, it wasn’t the time I was most happy with, it was the emotional feeling I had inside my body. I was happy and everybody close to me was happy. I was projecting pure joy and relaxation and that was being reflected back to me. Power running always left me feeling depleted and unfillfilled.  ChiRunning filled me with joy and happiness.  After that race it became very clear to me that pracitcing running form is a vehicle to integrate the mind and body.  To this day it remains one of the most profound AHA moments of my life.

That was in 2005. Close to 5 years later I’m still getting AHA moments. When I’m setting up a training plan for somebody and they ask me, “how long will it take to get it?” I explain to them that many people notice benefits as soon as they begin practicing their running form. You are likely to experience a few AHA moments as soon as you start running with the ChiRunning focuses in mind. If you continue to practice you will continue to grow, and your journey will be a series of one AHA moment after the next. You will “get it” as soon as you start running mindfully, but there is always more to learn, more to grow, more to see, and more to feel. The important thing is to enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination.



  • running,
  • walking,
  • running form,
  • start running,
  • power running,
  • 10k pr,
  • running mindfully,
  • training plan

2 CommentsLeave a comment below

I found this blog to be so very helpful and oh so very true. When I took the ChiRunning one day seminar the one key phrase that has stuck in my mind now 5 years later was “if you continue to practice the ChiRunning form the speed will come.” This has certainly been the case for me.  I was never a fast runner and had been “running” for almost 20 years at that time.  Did my first marathon in 2005 not a great time but not bad for a first timer… the subsequent 5 marathons to follow after learning about and practicing ChiRunning my times have improved by 20 minutes each!  That’s huge in marathon time and even bigger for me a 52 year old who has never even in my younger years considered herself a “fast runner” just finishing a marathon but to have set a goal time and meet it…well let’s just say this was my AHA moment.

I have always enjoyed my running but since learning and practicing ChiRunning I can say that everyday and every run I Love to Run! I’ve played tennis since Middle School and all through college and on a local club level, though I still enjoy playing it cannot compare to the full body and emotional enjoyment I continually get from my running.

Ryan, I love your final two sentences about mindful running and the importance on enjoying the journey and not to worry about the destination ... it will come AHA.

Matthew Germain Nov 18th, 2009 09:14am

This is so true! I especially feel it is important to be open to a moment like this at any time. So often we want them to come during races….but forcing it is not the way ChiRunning works. Your Aha! moment could come in the middle of a training run or jogging across the street to your car.

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