Running: Laying the Foundations - Chi Running

Running: Laying the Foundations

Posted by Michelle Muldoon on Tue Feb 28th, 2012, 5 comments

Over the last few months, I have taken my Chi Running practise to new levels whilst running to heart rate.  Since November I have consistently run easy apart from the scheduled harder sessions in an effort to develop my aerobic base.  What started out as a little frustrating has become some of the most relaxed running I have ever experienced.

I have found heart rate running training fits very well with Chi Running.  Gradual progress applies to this kind of running training and non-identification is key.  I have been practising Chi Running for nearly 6 years now, applying the running focuses (like midfoot strike, lean, etc.) is second nature to me.  However, that does not mean I still don’t have to work at it, it just makes it easier for me to be running while keeping an eye on heart rate too.  When I first started Chi Running I would not have felt ready to add something else into the mix too.  Practising my running technique alone and the process of re-wiring my body was more than enough to be getting on with!

What I have learnt over the last few months is that certain elements of my form will lower my heart rate.  If I let something slip like my cadence for instance, my heart rate will rise.  If I re-focus my heart will come back down again.  If I lose my alignment, it will rise, if I re-focus on staying tall and aligned, it will come back down again. 

Best of all running has become incredibly relaxing.  Mostly I believed I was relaxed when running but having taken a step back, I realise there are different levels of relaxation.  By allowing myself to run slower, perform each movement with the least amount of effort, I have been able to dig deeper and really tune into my body.

I am beginning to see the fruits of my labour as the pace increases for the same or even lower heart rate.  I am running most days, I do not feel fatigued in any way.  I usually want to keep going and when my run is over, I can’t wait to get back out for the next one!

Happy running.



  • running cadence,
  • relaxation,
  • heart rate,
  • alignment,
  • form focuses

5 CommentsLeave a comment below

Great article! Although I am newish (6 monthish) to Chi running I have found much the same the better I hold form the easier the run feels. You use of a heart rate monitor creates a tool to use to determine more quickly (then a feeling) when and where your form is not good. Waiting to feel it can tire or injure or (if your too focused on form as some beginners can be) can take some fun away from the run. I’ll be working it into my program soon.

Do u breathe in and out through nose or mouth breathe ?
Could u please tell how has your breathing changed over the period of six years of chirunning ?

Michelle Muldoon Apr 24th, 2012 03:21pm

Thanks for your question.  I mostly breathe in and out through my mouth.  When I focus on my breathing in particular, I will breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth.  Sometimes I practise breathing in and out through my nose.  This is something I would like to spend more time on and will be working more on that going forward.

Prior to Chi Running, my breathing would have been more laboured but as I have developed my form and learnt to relax more when running, I am hardly aware of it!

Thanks for your response. I come to chirunning from yoga and after trying breathe in through nose, breathe out through mouth, then breathe in and out through mouth,  I have found breathe in and out through nose very relaxing.  I have also found neti pot my best friend in breathing in and out through nose. Again., thanks and you have some great blogs here. I enjoyed reading them.

Michelle Muldoon Apr 26th, 2012 09:00am

Thanks Savita. Indeed nose breathing can help us to relax and it does take a lot of practise.  Some of my fellow instructors are fans of the neti pot too.

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