Introducing the technique called ChiRunning to the world back in , Danny Dreyer has transformed the running spectrum in its entirety. As a runner himself, Danny was in search of a less stressful, far more effective running technique to strengthen his skills before taking on more serious running expeditions such as a mile ultra-marathon. As a serious runner, Danny felt the need for a far more effective training method than the ones available in order to conserve energy and prevent injury without compromising on speed and distance. Holistic Approach In ChiRunning Danny founded the ChiRunning with the aim of making running a mindful and process driven exercise, rather than a result and fitness oriented activity.
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It selectively weakens one part of the human anatomy. Whatever part that the device weakens, it also allows to function in its weakened state. For example, this might be a sort of earpiece that gradually causes you to go deaf; however, so long as you continue to wear the earpiece, you maintain your faculties of hearing.
Obviously, no one would have any natural use or inclination for such a device. But now imagine that you have — through deception, distortion, or outright fraud — convinced basically everyone in the United States that this device is somehow mandatory, that the human act of hearing is impossible or even dangerous without this device.
You would become a rich man, would you not? An evil man, but a rich man. Well, what I have just described is a fairly straightforward account of the running shoe industry today. The statement that there is not, and never has been, a single published piece of medical evidence supporting the hypothesis that running shoes either prevent injury or improve performance is just an unadorned fact 1.
Staggeringly, not even the shoe companies themselves have managed to get such a study published. Usually, in a situation like this, you have the industry throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to exercise physiologists to fabricate plausible results.
In fact, technical shoe companies have recently been challenged on this point by a disgruntled Dr. Craig Alexander 2. But wait, it gets worse. Studies have been done. In fact, in the best surveys that have been done, there is a direct, positive correlation between the price paid for a running shoe, and the likelihood that the purchaser will become injured in a 16km run, after accounting for all other variables such as training volume, marathon speed, commitment to running, etc 6.
Something else to think about. Imagine that modern humans had very little use for their hands. That is, suppose they used them — but only for extremely gross, indelicate motor functions like pushing a shopping cart.
Now imagine that you took such a human at a very young age, and put casts on each hand. Evidently, after so many years of this, the muscles in his hand would be atrophied totally to the point of dysfunction. I claim that this is exactly what happens to the human foot in Western societies. After all, the human foot has no less complex a musculature than the hand; indeed, it may be much more so.
The foot has to absorb a huge amount of shock, and it has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to do so quite efficiently. The engineering of a mechanical foot that performs like a human one is a far, far more difficult task than engineering a hand — just look at the present state of anthropomorphic robotics.
Anyway, suppose you then asked this person to go out three times a week and perform some more complicated motor function — say, going across a set of monkey bars. Back and forth for thirty minutes. This is a task that most children could carry out with relative ease. But what would happen to this person? But think about this a step further -- where would he be injured? His wrists would break down, or his forearms would stress fracture, or his elbow would get displaced so that the cartilage degraded.
And of course, this is exactly what we see in recreational runners. So, you know, I very much appreciate what Chi Running is trying to do. Dreyer would have us all running with low impact, high turnover, an aligned spine, and a properly balanced midfoot strike. Which is great! These things will all improve running efficiency, and minimize injuries. But the simple truth is that this type of running would feel perfectly natural if you had never worn shoes.
All you need to do is glance at an unshod child tearing pell-mell about a playground. Perfect ChiRunning form. I am doing my very best to learn ChiRunning, I am. But this shit is hard, it is. So I had to subtract that one star. Because 5 star books change me. I think someone with his biomechanical insight could have made the connection between running posture and the pathological foot-spine alignment engendered by running shoes, and he really could have taken the problem head on.
That would have been nice. Maybe in the next edition? Richards, Craig et al. J of Sports Medicine, Mar; 43 3 Richards, Craig. Accessed Aug 3. Divert et al. Mechanical Comparison of Barefoot and Shod Running. International Journal of Sports Medicine, ; — 4. RAO, U. In: Segesser B. The shoe in sport. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers,
Danny Dreyer – ChiRunning & ChiWalking
What is ChiRunning?