Running expert addresses recent trends and science of barefoot running
Asheville, NC – Jan. 29, 2010 – ChiRunning, a natural, injury-free alternative to barefoot running, has a significant following and community of runners who have heeded founder Danny Dreyer’s advice and re-learned to run as they did as children.
The midfoot strike, barefoot running and the diabolic results of over-built shoes and heel striking hit the news in a significant way on Jan. 27, 2010, as a Harvard University study about barefoot running was released. Not surprisingly, ChiRunning is in alignment with the results.
One phrase you can be sure to hear in Dreyer’s workshops is, “It’s not running that hurts your body or causes injury, it is how you run that’s the culprit.”
The biomechanics and safety of running have been hotly debated for years. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in barefoot/natural running and the mechanics of the midfoot strike. This interest has been accelerated by the bestselling book Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and the January 2010 issue of Nature, which features a running mechanics study conducted by Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D., professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard.
The results of Lieberman’s study affirm what ultra-marathon runner Dreyer, creator of the injury-free running technique ChiRunning, has known for more than a decade: A natural running technique with a midfoot strike is the best way to prevent injury and maintain a safe and healthy running regimen for many years. ChiRunning is the leading educational resource and the foundation of natural movement. ChiRunning helps people learn the barefoot way of running, which is in alignment with the results of Lieberman’s study.
For those of us who are not ready to ditch our shoes—who want to keep our feet warm and unmolested by rocks, glass and gravel—ChiRunning teaches us to use a natural running form that most people have lost due to over-built shoes and poor body mechanics. ChiRunning starts by teaching correct posture, then incorporating a slight forward lean so that your center of mass lands directly over your midfoot strike. The result is a more efficient way to run, with less pain and injury.
Lieberman and his colleagues studied the foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners. The study found that, “Fore-foot and mid-foot-strike gaits were probably more common when humans ran barefoot or in minimal shoes, and may protect the feet and lower limbs from some of the impact-related injuries now experienced by a high percentage of runners.”
Dreyer has been teaching the midfoot strike since 1999, and has always believed that minimal shoes provide excellent biofeedback. He recommends making the transition to barefoot-like running gradually so that your feet and body can adjust to the new movements. The primary focus of ChiRunning is injury-prevention and energy efficiency.
ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running was published in 2004 along with a companion DVD, with revised editions published in 2009. Additional ChiRunning resources include training programs, audio programs, workshops and online resources. Workshops are taught around the world by more than 100 Certified ChiRunning Instructors who teach the technique through a systematic method, allowing safe and effective progress. ChiRunning is committed to nurturing a worldwide network of uninjured, intelligent runners.
Since Dreyer’s first class in 1999, the ChiRunning program has virtually changed the landscape of the sport of running and has made running accessible and appealing to people who had stopped running due to injury, who were intimidated by the difficulty and potential danger of running, who wanted to have a competitive edge, and for those who sought a mindful component in their fitness program. More information about ChiRunning can be found at www.chirunning.com.
About Danny Dreyer
Danny Dreyer is the creator of ChiRunning® and ChiWalking®, revolutionary forms of moving that blend the subtle inner focuses of tai chi with running and walking. His work is based on his study of tai chi with Master Zhu Xilin and internationally renowned Master George Xu, and his 35 years of experience, running, racing ultra marathons and coaching people in “intelligent movement.” He has taught thousands of people the ChiRunning and ChiWalking techniques with profound results.