What? The ChiRunning Instructor is injured??

….and My Story Runs On….

A ChiRunning Instructors biggest nightmare….INJURY!  Please don’t let it be true….

Well, it is true and I’m feeling compelled to blog about it and share my experience with you. How can I be injured when I’ve been teaching ChiRunning for 4 years and I KNOW that my form is good?  Of course not perfect but good enough to know that it’s not my form that caused it.

First of all, let me preface this with saying that yes, we say ChiRunning is injury-free. These are two very powerful words in the running world and many people seek us out for this. And the ChiRunning instructors have had some great conversations on our secret facebook page about injuries and the words “injury-free”.  To summarize, ChiRunning does absolutely lend itself to being less prone to injury than “conventional” running.  From arm swing to foot placement to cadence, we teach people how to use their bodies correctly to move forward without injury.  But is it a gaurantee  that it’s injury-free?  OF COURSE NOT.

Why?  Because there are other variables that can cause injury that are not related to the form.  You could have a postural distortion that requires more correction than technique and need a physical therapist to help you OR in my case, you could’ve made some STUPID moves in your training. So now it’s time for….

Confessions of a ChiRunning Instructor:

One of the things I love most about ChiRunning is that it’s taught me to body sense, listen to my body and be my own detective. Sounds basic but this is not a skill that runners hone in on.  Conventional running tells you to run through the pain and fix it later….not a smart plan if you want to run for the rest of your life because this will backfire on you at some point.

So about a week ago and a half ago, I started feeling pain in my right heel.  I thought maybe I had bruised it since I have some new minimal trail shoes and maybe hit a rock and didn’t remember it. At least this is what I was praying for since I knew in my head what the other alternative was…..yep, you guessed it…. the plant!  I’m talking about plantar fasciitis.  Ugh, are you kidding me?  I already knew the symptoms but looked them up again hoping that my detective work was wrong…

Nope, pretty sure it’s the onset on plantar fasciitis.  If you’ve never had this, I hope you never get it. THANKFULLY, I feel I’ve caught it early enough to “fix” it.  Here is a great article about Everything You Need to Know about Plantar Fasciitis.



So how could this be?  Well, I know for sure it’s not my form.  I’ve been recently video taped by Danny Dreyer himself and I know I’m not heel striking, crunching my toes or toe running. So what could it be?  Here is what I discovered through my detective work:

  • I ran 15 days straight without taking a day off from 5/29-6/12.  (I’m training for a 12 hour event in July which will be another blog post). I got so sucked in to getting mileage and was having so much fun running (yes, crazy I know) that I just never ended up taking a day off.
  • Within this 15 days, I also hiked Havasupai.  11.5 miles in on a Friday and 11.5 miles out on a Sunday.  I didn’t train for hiking since I’ve been running so much and I’ve run more than that so I didn’t think it would effect me…WRONG!  There were some steep uphills/downhills and lots of wash (sand). So even though I really focused on my form, my body was not used to those conditions and I’m sure my calves were working harder than they have in years. Seriously, I don’t remember last time I had tight calves until this trip.
  • Within this time, my weekly mileage went from 33 miles the week ending 5/26 up to 52 miles and 43 miles for those 15 days.  REALLY LISA?  Is that a 10% increase in your weekly mileage?  NO! What the heck what I thinking?  I don’t know but I’m surely kicking myself now.

So even though I’m glad I had another aha moment (or as I tell my friends, these are signs of us “growing up”…lol) that I could learn from and write about, I’m annoyed at myself now because I have to take time off running! As much as it’s KILLING ME, I know this is the advice I would give any of my runners.  I also know better than to beat myself up about a mistake I made as a running coach in my own training.  Thank you for the lesson, Universe and thank you for making me a good detective, ChiRunning!

So I’m crossing my fingers that 5 days off along with a lot of stretching, rolling my foot on frozen water bottles (what I’m doing right now), gravel walking, and gripping towels with my toes, are going to make the difference. This is not the best time for this to be happening since I have a big event on 7/12 but it’s already put me in a place to make some different decisions about that event if I have to.

Please cross your fingers for me 😉

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

13 thoughts on “What? The ChiRunning Instructor is injured??

  1. As my coach once told me, ‘rest is golden’. You just don’t know it yet. And secondly, this would be a great opportunity to focus on chi walking and help those of us who rely on that speed as well. There’s the silver lining. Thanks for the confession and the post.

    • Thanks Anne! Yes, I’m getting some extra work done since I’m not running 2 hours or so a day and I know it’s the right thing to do…trying to stay off it as much as possible but I am a huge fan of ChiWalking! had my best time on a marathon with the most ChiWalking! thanks for commenting 😉

  2. Lisa, don’t get down on yourself. You’re borderline obsessive-compulsive like most serious runners are. (welcome to the club!) Plantar Fasciitis is nothing to be taken lightly. I stupidly tried to run through it before I wised up. Hopefully you are seeking a professional opinion on your condition and not relying on assumptions. Wonder if it could possibly be heel spurs (common for trail runners). I went through the cycle years ago (fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendinitis) and someone turned me on to Magnesium. I started taking 500 mg daily and do so to this day. I’ve never had another problem and it’s over 25 years, Tell me you are passing on the 12 hour run! There will be other opportunities and risking permanent injury makes no sense.

    • haven’t sought professional opinion yet and wandered whether it could be heel spurs or not. I’ll probably be reaching out to One Accord Physical Therapy since I do my ChiRunning classes there. It’s feeling better but I know it’ll be a process. Haven’t decided about the 12 hours yet…I’m focusing on being present and healing…it’s not off the table but I know for sure I will not push myself to a point of making it worse or making it so I can’t run again…I’ll make my decision as I get closer to the date and if it means I end up doing an hour, I do that…totally learning from this experience in patience and being present 😉 I’m very aware of my body and I definitely want to be running for the rest of my life so I will not make any stupid moves that would jeapordize my long term goal 😉

  3. Lisa-I feel your pain 🙁 Don’t you wish it was just a rock bruise? I was in denial for months, good for you for getting on it so fast. The rest will do you good in many ways, I am certain. Get a good deep tissue massage focused on your calf and shin, surprising how those muscles mess with your foot.

    • Thanks Lisa! Planning on a massage soon for sure and have been foam rolling and stretching the calves as much as possible. I feel like it’s getting better but I know it will be a process so just trying to be positive and learn from the experience!

  4. Thanks for sharing Lisa! There is nothing more devastating to a runner than a foot related injury! I have been through it 2 times in my life and even though both experiences were not only physically painful – I could probably say they were more mentally painful. Once I had an injury in high school and I tried to keep running on it (unfortunately my cross country encourage me to do so) but when it got unbearable I went to a doctor and he said “if you keep running on this foot, you will never run again.” That stuck with me so I spent 2 weeks on the couch icing and elevating my foot and missed the Cross Country State Championships. It stung at the time but that experience has always stayed with me. Thanks to listening to the doctor my foot completely healed and it never created a problem again.
    The second time I was put out of commission was this past January. I was playing catch up on my miles because I was signed up for the PF Changs Rock N Roll Half, but my training had gone out the window in December b/c of the holidays and then getting the flu around New Years. So the week and a half before (when you are supposed to taper) I put in a crazy amount of miles and somehow hurt my 5th metatarsal on my right foot. This was on a Sunday night so Monday first thing in the morning I called my foot doc and they got me in. He said it was probably overkill but he put me in a boot. I was reluctant but did as I was told and wore the boot until my next follow-up. Luckily my foot actually felt 100% fine after 3 days but after my follow-up, the race was days away so I decided to not participate. Since my incident in January I’ve (knock on wood) had zero issues with that foot.
    It always go back to listening to your body! At the first inkling of pain I now stop and listen! And if the doctor says to stop, elevate, ice, and wear a boot – than that’s what I do no matter how much it hurts my ego. My ego will recover faster than putting myself in harm’s way and causing permanent damage!
    Anyways, I’m so sorry about your injury! I’m glad that you are taking a step back to stop and listen! Get back to running when it’s right for you! Also, thank you for your honesty! By sharing your story you may help other runners avoid an injury and/or to reevaluate what they are doing at the first sign of pain! I always joke that I need to schedule rest days b/c I love to exercise for several days and/or weeks at a time without a real break – so your story will make me think twice about over doing it!

    ps: If you need a foot doctor referral – please let me know! I have a husband and wife team of foot docs that are awesome! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your stories with me Kristen! It’s been really hard to take time off but my major motivation is setting a good example for my runners so that’s keeping me kind of sane right now 😉 Of course, I’ve been eating like I’m still running a couple hours a day so hopefully it won’t be long that I can get back into 😉 It’s feeling better but I’m being very cautious and patient with it! I’ve never been this good about stretching 2x a day and doing all things necessary to help it go away so that’s a good thing too!

  5. Take this lady’s letter, hang it on your wall, highlight “playing catch-up”, and read it twice every time your brain tells you. “Maybe I’ll only run a mile…” Public Enemy #1 to all runners is “overtraining”.

    • I only ran 7 miles over 2 days in the last 10 days..It’s been really hard but I’ve been doing everything the PT told me to do and I know better, especially since I’m setting an example for all my runners. I still plan on attending the CYA event but if it only means I get 1 hour in or whatever, I’m OK with that…totally listening to my body and I know I want to run for the rest of my life so definitely don’t want to mess that up now! although a bit ironic advice coming from someone who runs through injury all the time…I think I remember several conversations on our runs of me telling you the same thing 😉 😉

  6. I went through Fasciitis, shin splints, Achilles, hamstrings 25 years ago and got wise. Short of cramps and muscle aches, I’ve been relatively injury-free for decades. My choice is to stretch, train slower than slow, and tank races when I’m not up to the max effort. Shingles is an illness and a busted shoulder can be stabilized. Going 120 miles to drop out after a mile in a 12hour race when you are recovering from a serious injury is just plain dumb. Sorry you feel you need to “prove something”.

    • Not proving anything to anyone…I paid for the race and love to be in Prescott so it’s just another training walk/run for me, a chance to be somewhere different and I get to visit with my Prescott Mountain Miler friends…have no idea how much I’ll do of the 12 hours but I know my body well enough and this is my livelihood so I’ll do whatever feels right on that day…nothing dumb about it…

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