Chi Running : A Better, Safer Way to Run

Using core muscles to fall and use force of gravity to move forward

Using core muscles to fall and use force of gravity to move forward

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Col Avdhesh Kumar (Retd)

Pune, 16th October 2021: Since our school days, we have been running in a particular non-scientific way and as told by our school Physical Training instructors ie, long steps, heel-toe roll and neck down. We were told that running is natural to us and there is nothing to teach.           

As youngsters, the majority of us could take all that pounding of feet for miles and miles in the most non-scientific ways, but not for too long. However, running injuries like shin fracture, plantar fasciitis etc are normal if we continue running during our school days. Also, over the years during our professional life and running, many regular runners and especially school gold medallists have to deal with an injury at some point in time. Thereafter, we get into the cycle of pains and injuries combined with long sitting hours on the jobs and sedentary lifestyles and we tend to refrain from running and look for other options to remain fit. 

It’s not Running that Hurts our Bodies, it’s the Way We Run that Creates problems. More than 80% of running injuries are caused by too much impact and overuse of the lower extremities. This is due to the fact that these are small muscles that are too often required to do most of the work. Knees, lower legs, ankles, feet and toes are by far the most common injury areas for runners. 

As runners, we land around 170-180 times / per minute. Our feet hit the ground and transfer forces that are 3-8 x our body weight. Therefore, if we are running inefficiently, with poor mechanics, we are basically punishing our body during every run, regardless of the distance. Getting injured or experiencing pain is common, but not inevitable! Running the right way and finding ways to eliminate pain and injuries are essentials for a long-term running lifestyle. 

Normal Running Mistakes.         

Here are four mistakes that prevent us from reaching our potential as runners: –

(a) We tend to overuse our lower body and run by over-relying on our legs for propulsion, which can lead to pain or injury. 

(b) We don’t adapt our running technique to the terrain we’re running on, (i.e. hills, pavement, trail, wind, etc.).

(c) We don’t “listen” to how our body is feeling, and adjust our technique accordingly.

(d) We don’t use our whole body to run in a unified way because we place too much emphasis on the legs. People don’t learn and work on what’s slowing them down and they continue to run in poor technique/posture, and finally get injured.

PT instructors in schools and most of the coaches in colleges/gyms focus too much on speed, but not on technique or posture improvement. Majority of training schedules/trainers just focus on cardio-aerobic fitness or muscle strength. 

Eliminate the Two Main Causes of Injury. There are two main categories of injuries: overuse and impact. 

(a)    Overuse –   Overuse injuries are caused by using our muscles incorrectly or beyond their capacity. 

(b)    Impact –     Impact injuries come from over-striding, which creates a heel strike and produces excessive braking motion.

Chi Running: Chi Running is a revolutionary approach to effortless, injury-free running that can eliminate injuries caused by overuse and impact. Founded by the renowned ultra-marathoner Danny Dreyer, it is based on the movement principles of T’ai Chi, which allows the energy that unites body, mind and spirit to move from your core into the limbs to create movement.

Since 1999, Chi Running has helped thousands of runners transform their technique – reducing, preventing and recovering from injuries. Runners of all ages and levels have improved their efficiency and performance, and now find running to be pain-free, easier, and enjoyable.

Chi Running addresses all these issues about injury prevention and energy efficiency so that you can run better and faster. Chi Running combines the central movement principles of T’ai Chi with the sport of running by shifting the workload to our core muscles, and away from our legs, giving us more efficiency with less injuries. The two main themes underlying all the Chi Running materials are: energy efficiency and injury prevention.

Advantages of Chi Running.

(a) Setting us up for a lifetime of injury-free running.

(b) Build confidence in one’s abilities.

(c) Go farther or faster with less effort.

(d) Improve our body alignment for optimal efficiency

(e) Lower impact to our joints.

(f) Reduce the work of our legs – at any speed.

(g) Build core strength with every step.

(h) Run with whole-body relaxation.

(j) Become more mindful in how we use our body.

(k) Become a highly efficient and adaptable runner.

Chi Running is one of the most publicly recognised training systems developed all over the world for running well. The books “ChiRunning”, “ChiWalking” and “ChiMarathon” have been published in more than 17 languages, and are always on the top ten list of bestselling books under fitness/sport category claimed by Forbes and Amazons.

Conclusion: Running is much more than simply “one foot ahead of another.” We must introduce low-impact, efficient running techniques at an early stage to insure a future of healthy and fit running citizens. The Chi Running technique emphasizes the proper biomechanics of running and helps eliminate the aches, pains and fatigue caused by improper running. Chi Running has helped thousands of runners improve their running form – reducing and preventing injuries, while decreasing recovery time. Runners of all ages and levels have improved their efficiency and performance, and now find their running to be pain-free, easier and more enjoyable.

Let us play our part in “Fit India” movement. 

Col Avdhesh Kumar (Retd) with Danny Dreyer, founder of Chi Walking & Running at Asheville, North Carolina, USA during his certification process.
Col Avdhesh Kumar (Retd) with Danny Dreyer, founder of Chi Walking & Running at Asheville, North Carolina, USA during his certification process.


(Col Avdhesh Kumar (Retd) is a certified Chi Walking & Running Instructor. He can be reached at

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