SOURCE: ChiLiving


February 12, 2010 00:00 ET

ChiRunning: The Closest Thing to Barefoot Running Without Ditching Your Shoes

Running Expert Addresses Recent Trends and Science of Barefoot Running

ASHEVILLE, NC--(Marketwire - February 12, 2010) - ChiRunning, the natural, injury-free complement 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 eye-opening affects of over-built shoes and heel striking hit the news in a significant way on January 27, 2010, as a Harvard University study about barefoot running was released. Not surprisingly, ChiRunning is in alignment with the results.

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 Dr. Lieberman's study affirm what ultra-marathon runner Danny 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.

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."(1)

For those of us who are not ready to ditch our shoes, 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 the basics: correct posture, then incorporating a slight forward lean so that your center of mass lands directly over your midfoot strike. These basics, combined with a few additional key components result is a more efficient way to run, with less pain and injury.

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.

"ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running" was published in 2004 along with a companion DVD, with revised editions published in 2009. Workshops are taught around the world by 100+ Certified ChiRunning Instructors. More information can be found at:

(1) Lieberman, D. E. et al. Nature 463, 531-535 (2010).

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