Completely Exposing Myself….

….and My Story Runs On….

I’ve decided to just go ahead and let it all out!  I debated whether I should do this or not….I’m a true believer in being authentic and I’ve learned that showing vulnerability is not a bad thing at all.


So here it goes…..

I’m going to share my personal video analysis and Danny Dreyer’s (founder of ChiRunning) critique of my ChiRunning form.  Keep in mind that I started using this form back in 2009, became Certified in 2010 and have been practicing ever since. (Click here and scroll to bottom of the page to see the evolution of my immersion into ChiRunning).

One of the things I love most about ChiRunning is that it’s truly a holistic practice.  We like to say Practice Makes Progress (not perfect) because we are always looking for ways to keep getting better and better at it.  I always tell my students that you get what you put into it.  Even Danny Dreyer has aha moments as he works on “perfecting” his form.

Anyways, here is the video.  Danny gave me specific directions to

“Be pretty nitpicky. This way I can see how good your critical eye is, and also how good your form is.”

The video is 7:37 minutes but note how many “nitpicky” things I found in my own form.

Here is Danny’s email back to me after his review:

“You did a fabulous job of nitpicking your form! Below are some of my comments to add to what you saw.
Foot splay in the flight phase on both feet. Only very slight in the right foot… not enough to worry about. When you were running in a counter-clockwise arc you were pointing your right foot as it swung forward and you were dorsiflexing your left foot as it swung forward. This was accentuated because of the curve and less obvious when running straight.
Landing on the outside of the feet is fine. It creates a natural pronation and makes a midfoot landing softer.
Much of your leg work would improve if your stride were a bit shorter. This would prevent any overuse of your lower legs, reduce over-pronation and help keep your cadence up around 177 where it should be. It’s a more efficient gear for you.
Good alignment and lean
Right calf is pre-firing and plantar flexing for stability but I don’t see it used for propulsion.
Left ankle is dorsiflexing but not heel striking. On both feet you’re landing below your knees, which is great.
Slight upper body rotation: right elbow comes back behind you. Left elbow not as much. I’d say that the main thing you need to work on is your armswing… everything else is very close to right on. With your arms, let your elbows swing in the direction your arms are aligned. When you’re holding an imaginary volleyball your hands are closer to your centerline and your elbows are wider because they’re angled out a bit. The reason why your shoulders rotate is because your elbows are not following the line set up by the volleyball, but instead they’re swinging directly rearward and not rearward at a slight angle to each side… in a “V” shape. Swinging your elbow straight back pulls your shoulder with it. Swinging your elbow in a “V” shape doesn’t.
A small amount of vertical motion is a good thing. If you had no vertical motion, you’d be walking. It’s necessary. But, we teach pelvic rotation just to insure that people aren’t bouncing more than they need to.
I’m happy to go over any of this with you on Skype, so I can demonstrate what’s happening….. You’re doing a fabulous job in many ways.
Keep up the good work.

Yesterday I had the privilege of talking to Danny via Google Hangout to discuss my video even further.  We worked on my right arm swing a bit and now I’m excited because I have some more things to focus on when I’m running.

Moral of the story: 


Just because I’ve been teaching and practicing for awhile, doesn’t mean I can’t learn and become a stronger runner.  It wasn’t easy being vulnerable and having the founder of ChiRunning critique my form but boy am I am re-energized and motivated to keep working on it. The better I get, the more I can help my students get better too!

I do video analysis in my 4-hour ChiRunning workshops.  Students tell me this is the most valuable part of the class. There is nothing like making that mind/body connection by seeing what your body is doing so you can correct it.

Although I was pretty nervous about this whole process, I’m so grateful because ChiRunning has changed my life both professionally and personally.  I continue to look forward to helping injured runners change their form so they won’t be injured anymore AND show brand new runners that running doesn’t have to be painful or hard.

“It’s not running that causes pain, but HOW you do it.” Danny Dreyer

P.S  Not sure if you are Ted Talk fan but here is a great one on The Power of Vulnerability from Brene Brown.

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

0 thoughts on “Completely Exposing Myself….

  1. Folks, Chi Running is a technique and a good one. I fully recommend buying the book and seeing if this technique is for you. But like all techniques, they are not for everyone, Tweaking a technique may make you more efficient but it won’t necessarily make you faster or able to run longer and it definitely should not be a way to fix a pain or an injury. For all but the small minority of elite or semi elite competitive runners, who probably need lots of tweaking, experiment with new techniques. If it works for you and there are no side effects, and the improvement makes you feel positive about yourself, go for it!! If you hurt or just feel uncomfortable, don’t look for new techniques, look for a sports medicine specialist. Running should be fun. It’s recreation not occupation. If you’re concentrating on “toe splay” on a leisurely run (and what is toe splay anyway??) instead of how good it makes you feel, you’re probably not having fun!

    • As always, I love to hear from you to get your “devil’s advocate” point of view. I tell people all the time to investigate other forms of running and find out what’s best for them. Of course, I believe that ChiRunning is the best but I’m biased 😉 The idea of ChiRunning is to prevent the injuries not have people get injured, give up and or seek out a sports medicine specialist (this is reactive vs preventative)
      A toe splay (described in the book) is when your feet turn out when you stand, walk or run. As a personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist, this does really bad things for your body. Our body is made up of a kinetic chain and when your foot constantly splays out, you are putting extra effort on joints and muscles along your ankle, knee, hip even up to your lower back. So focusing on form is crucial if you want to keep running and not hurt your body. I looked for a picture so you can see what I mean.
      Foot Splay
      I always feel good when I’m ChiRunning and I feel even better when I know my body is working as efficiently as it should be rather than ignoring pain and running through it which is what most runners do.
      The ChiRunning form is meant to be an art that you keep perfecting. I find this process very fun and it’s great to feel and see my improvements….I’m always having fun when I’m running 😉 Focusing my mind on what my body is doing is part of the ChiRunning experience but not meant for people who aren’t interested in becoming better at their “art” form or people who prefer to run through pain and ignore it.

      • Yeah I knew what a toe splay is now that you describe it but I must have passed over that section in the book because medical terminology isn’t my thing, You always seem to respond to my posts as if I’m attacking the Chi Running method but I’m very supportive of it and I do suggest it to new runners I now constantly race with, but NEVER to someone who is experiencing pain or discomfort when running. Runners with injuries or only discomfort while running need to check themselves out with a specialist, follow a healing regimen, and THEN come to you if the problem relates to form and technique. I think new runners misinterpret training problems as healers not preventers. Read about Jim Fixx, pioneer running media personality and inventor of the running log. He had training programs too but died at an early age from hereditary issues because he ignored physical signs and never saw a doctor because he was in “perfect condition. Regards,

        Marty Michelson786 South Catalina St.Gilbert, AZ Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2014 21:41:45 +0000 To:

        • I appreciate your comments as always due to your vast experience in the running world..I may not have that experience so my strength is knowing the ChiRunning form….and let’s just say that I have a better understanding of it and I can’t agree with your comments about it..clearly anyone experience pain should see a specialist…ChiRunning is mainly about prevention but I’ve seen it help people with injuries because a lot of times, it’s the form that’s causing it…I see it in my video analysis all the time and when people have injuries, I always recommend seeing someone so it doesn’t get worst…form can’t fix everything and that’s why we have Physical therapists, etc.

          • I said it’s a good program and I’m supportive of it. So you disagree with this? Or are you just disagreeing to disagree? To my knowledge, you are not trained or licensed to practice medicine. If a new runner is experiencing pain when running and residually afterwards and it’s consistent, they need to seek medical advice first. If a sports medicine specialist confirms that the problem is not medically related, then the person should experiment with running styleprograms. That’s all I’m saying and nothing more.

            Marty Michelson786 South Catalina St.Gilbert, AZ Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:21:28 +0000 To:

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