The Modern Evolution of Running

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The Modern Evolution of Running

Here’s a flash from the past. In the late 70’s Jim Fixx wrote his NY Times best seller, “The Complete Book of Running.” About that same time came the first NYC Marathon through the 5 boroughs, as well as the Chicago marathon — and the “running boom” of the ’70’s was officially launched. As you can see by the photo, it became so popular that even celebrities got onboard.

Back in those days, if you were to go out for a 3 mile run, people would think you were weird.

“Why would anyone want to just go out and RUN?”

I would get weird looks from passing cars. And, I would even get the occasional crumpled up paper cup thrown at me as they passed. I even remember once, running in the late morning (I had flexible work hours back then) and having some guy yell out his window, “Get a job!”

But, once the running boom hit, the running shoe industry immediately signed on, and the running boom took off like wildfire. And, within a couple of years, running was no longer considered weird.

Fast forward to 1999, the first year ChiRunning was publicly taught.

By now running enjoyed a huge popularity across the country, millions of runners had taken up the sport, and it was spreading worldwide.

But, even though over 20 years had passed since the running boom began, learning how to run was still not on anyone’s mind… even though running was shown to have a annual injury rate of 65%!!!

I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Why would anyone pay money to learn how to run? I’ve been doing it since I was a kid!”

Well, yes, but I’m willing to bet that you don’t have the same body you did when you were a 10-year old. As we all know, Life happens, and most of us don’t move like we did back then.

Now, 20 more years after ChiRunning was introduced, learning how to run is widely accepted… just like golf lessons, or tennis lessons, and nobody is considered weird for wanting to learn how to run. We’re also seeing that ChiRunning is becoming more attractive to those who want to go beyond just physical training and add a mindful aspect to their daily practice.

As I see it, this is where running is (or should be) headed. If you’re not using your running or walking as a way to improve your mind-body connection, you could be missing out on one of the most sought-after experiences in being human… being in your body and being in the present moment. Running a 5K or a marathon are great accomplishments. But feeling your own presence is what it’s really about in the “long run.”

Posted in Inside Chi, Lifestyle

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