Trail Running: the Peripheral, the Intuitive, and the Meditative

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Dear Danny,

ChiRunning really comes into its own on the trails. With all the obstacles the trail presents, relaxation, keeping your feet under you, and letting them come out the back is paramount. On the trail I have discovered there are what I consider 3 levels of focus; the peripheral, the intuitive, and the meditative.

The peripheral could be considered a beginner level where you’re focusing to make things happen; feed back is minimal and interpretation of any feed back is new territory.

The intuitive is a level where practice has brought you to a point where you are aware of what the body is doing in the immediate area of focus and you are able to interpret this feedback and make proper adjustments when needed. At this level you can probably still carry on a conversation with other runners. I have been stuck at this level for a long time.

The meditative level is when it all flows, everything clicks and all the focuses come together; Body Sensing totally absorbs all conscious thought and adjustments are immediate, almost automatic. I have been in that place just enough times now to know that it exists. I had an experience last week on a trail run that was almost out-of-body, and I was totally one with my body and the trail. Until trail running began to consume the majority of my running, I didn’t know this level was even there. Glad I popped through the bubble. I can never thank you enough for what you have given me, and the path you set me on.

Be good,
Bart S.
Asheville, NC