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chirunning book

To go along with the spectacular Chi Running DVD I just reviewed, I also read the ChiRunning book, ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running.

Simply put, this is a great book and a perfect complement to the DVD. It covers all the Chi Running basics (everything in the DVD) plus it goes into greater detail on various concepts, while also discussing various situations and related concepts like racing and nutrition.

That begs the question, “should I get the book or the DVD?” I would say to get both. It really depends on how you learn though. If you can read a book and instantly understand, then you might be able to get by with just the book. But if you would like to actually see ChiRunning, then the DVD is the way to go.

As for reading and watching, I chose to watch the DVD a couple times before I got into the book. The reason is that you can watch the DVD and then head out the door to practice and go for a run. With the book, I had to read almost 100 pages before really being ready to run. (Although I was much more aware of what I was doing after reading the book.)

Let’s talk about the book…

The book has a good (albeit long) introduction to running and T’ai Chi which compares typical power running to Chi Running, talks about lessons from T’ai Chi, and really helps you understand the why and how of Chi Running.

The first couple chapters don’t explain how to do ChiRunning; rather, they develop the concept. Some people would probably skip over this part thinking it’s a sales pitch, but I chose to read it and I think reading all the background behind the product really helped me jump right in. I highly recommend reading every chapter from beginning to end and keeping an open mind.

Reading this really got me interested in the practice of T’ai Chi, which I had always brushed off as some meditation thing that had no place in sports. Boy was I wrong!

The concepts are extremely interesting. For example, how power really comes from your core muscles and spine, which moves your hips and shoulders, and on down to your fingers and toes. It’s the reason the Cheetah is the fastest land animal despite having skinny little legs!

Chi Running also shares similarities with what I have been doing on my bike for years, but I never thought of applying these concepts to my running! For example, I do core exercises and routines like Cyclo-Core to strengthen my hip flexors and other core muscle groups. I also relax my body and move my legs in fluid circles at 90 rpm (which is a good riding and running cadence) and it lets me ride longer because it requires less force from my leg muscles.

Even better, for anyone doubting Chi Running, everything in the ChiRunning method is based on the laws of physics. It just plain makes sense. (Even if you don’t go for the whole “chi” concept, the science is there to back it up.)

Chi Running, page by page

Approximately the first 100 pages (mainly 29-121) cover the ChiRunning concepts and all the elements of the form, and of course, helpful drills to make sure you get it right. After page 100 it’s mainly body loosening and stretching, but then you actually start running! (The whole time there are good images to guide you to proper form, too.)

Afterwards you dive into more advanced training and detailed situations. Topics include setting up a training program, types of runs (tempo, distance, etc.), setting goals, racing, nutrition, and more. There are also some great tips thrown in, and my favorite part was about running up and down hills. (I have to run hills all the time, and I never did it right!)

Also very cool and very useful is the troubleshooting section. It lists problems or questions you might have while doing ChiRunning. Say, knee pain, for example. Then it tells you the common reasons for knee pain and describes what you should be doing to prevent it.

Then I also loved the tip about drinking water at aid stations without spilling it – I never thought of that before! (See page 189.)

Final thoughts on Chi Running, the book

The book is great because it explains some things I didn’t pick up on in the DVD. Sometimes reading something just “clicks” better in my head, plus there are more comparisons of what things should and should not feel like, making it easier to determine when your form is correct.

Overall I was surprised how much genuinely useful advice was packed into this book. Had I read this when I was just getting started running, it would have answered all the questions I had, along with all the questions I would ever have, even before I knew to ask them!

I’ll be rereading this multiple times to make sure I understand all the concepts and don’t miss anything. That won’t be a problem because it’s filled with witty humor and personal stories, so it’s an enjoyable read.

My final verdict is…

I’ll say it again… This is a revolutionary product and I highly recommend ChiRunning to anyone that runs. If you’re a beginner trying to learn the ropes, this is perfect. If you’re a seasoned veteran looking to put bad habits to rest, it’s for you, too.

It’s also awesome for triathletes because of the emphasis on form instead of leg power. It allows you to run faster, even if your leg muscles are super sore from the swimming and biking!

If you get ChiRunning, the book and DVD are both good, so I’d go with both. If you really want to save cash you could probably learn ChiRunning without the DVD, but having already watched the DVD, I wouldn’t give it up!

Official website: www.ChiRunning.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: ChiRunning
Product: ChiRunning Method Book
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2008-06-13
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. Thank you for the wonderful review,I really hate running even when i was younger(I always do..i was even the slowest kid on my P.E class even if I’m in better shape than some people there they can still outrun me!it doesn’t make sense i know)i always preferred cycling but since i’m going to join the military i have to learn how to run properly(and change my relationship with it..)I’m planning on getting this book on Ebay and I really hope it works on me too.

  2. @Jed

    It sounds like we were in the same boat regarding running. Working on your form should really help change things around.

    Good luck!

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