Monday, 27 June 2011

Chi Running Practice Meet

The first of the Chi Running Practice Meet will take place on Wed 29th June at the Tank Field, Mayfield from 7pm - 8/8.30pm for those of you who have attended a one day chi running clinic.

I will be on hand if you want me to check your posture, lean, armswing, cadence etc or discuss any challenges you may be experiencing with the chi technique.

This is an opportunity for you to get out practicing your chi running, progress and improve.  Please note this is not a clinic, it's just a way of helping you with gradual progress.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Cadence - your rhythm

Cadence is measured as the number of strides per minute that each leg takes.

For Runners....

The recommended range of cadence is 170-180 strides per minute.
In chi running it will always remain the same as you pick up speed using your gears your stride will lengthen out behind you and this is another reason chi running is so energy efficient.
Chi runners use a metronome which you clip on to your running gear and it ensures you keep your cadence constant during your runs no matter what speed you are going, be it during your warm up 1st gear, your training pace 2nd gear or your race pace 3rd gear.
If you're trying to improve your running time the use of the metronome is great as you can increase the timing on your metronome very gradually weekly, fortnightly or monthly until you work your cadence up to the recommended level. It also means no matter what the terrain i.e. flat or hills you keep a constant cadence which means your timing will improve.

For Walkers.....

When you're chi walking, cadence works different to chi running. When you're chi walking your stride remains the same (0pposite to running) and your cadence increases (as opposed to remaining constant with running) and this is how chi walkers increase their pace when they want a good workout.

So you start with a slow walk pace on a cadence of 50-60spm per leg (100-120spm for both legs), medium paced walk between 60 - 65spm per leg and fast walk over 65spm per leg. You maintain your stride while your arm swing increases as your cadence increases when you want to go faster.
I have the Seiko DM50 Metronome which the Chi Living recommend and I take their word as they investigate all running accessories, but I'm sure they're available on lots of websites and in running shops too.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Practicing the Chi technique

When you learn the chi running technique you will need to practice it like everything new it takes practice and it is gradual progress. The best advice I can give following a chi clinic is that every time you go for a walk or run you focus on the body by body sensing and asking yourself questions to check that you are using the chi technique.

This means you need to ditch the mp3 or ipod for a while so that you can hear yourself asking questions like, am I landing on my mid-foot while running, can I feel my lower abs slightly taught, are my ankles and calves completely relaxed, am I holding tension anywhere, what way are my arms swinging, where am I looking etc. You learn a lot at the chi clinic and therefore there's lots to check and if you ever feel your core isn't engaged, stop, set yourself up again, lean from the ankles and fall forward.

Gradual progress is the way, one day you may focus on your armswing another day you might focus on completely relaxing the body another day you may focus on where your landing etc like all things new it takes time and practice for it all to come together and when it does it's fantastic.

check out this article on body sensing I just read after writing the above and it might help explain what I'm trying to say above

Monday, 20 June 2011

Body Looseners before you run or walk

There has been lots of research into stretching before a walk or run and it is now considered bad to stretch before you exercise as you may actually injure yourself as your muscles are not warmed up.

With the ChiWalking and ChiRunning take 5 minutes to open up your joints, we call them Body Looseners.

Start with the ankles one at a time. Put your full weight on to one leg with soft knee and gently rotate the other leg ankle, first clockwise and then anticlockwise for 8-10 reps. Then shift your weight to the other leg and do the same with that ankle.

Next to the knees, do this exercise with both knees at the same time. Bring your feet close together, bend as if you are going to sit down but don’t, place your hands on your knees and rotate the knees together clockwise and then anticlockwise for 8-10 reps. Make sure the feet stay steady and don't shift.
Hips & Pelvis:
Then to the hips and pelvis, pretend you’re playing with a hula-hoop, again go clockwise and anticlockwise for 8-10 reps.
Finally bring your hands up on to your shoulders and together roll the shoulders forward and then backward for 8-10 reps.
This will help loosen up the joint areas before your start your warm up run or walk. 

One point it doesn't work better if you do them fast, in actual fact it's better if you take your time and do them slowly.


Friday, 17 June 2011


A person asked me the other day what do they do with their arms? Firstly I said use them to your benefit.

Ok, walkers I have to say I'm concerned at the variety of armswings out there and in particular the people who swing their arms with gusto in front of them from side to side - STOP doing that its bad for your back!

Remember when you're running or walking you are wanting to go forward i.e. straight in front of you so you want your armswing to help do exactly that, help you go forward.

So for those of you swinging sideways you're slowing yourself down by stopping yourself going forward and pulling on your back which is obviously not a good thing.

The arm swing goes to the rear so swing it to the rear (short swing) and your arm naturally swings forward, propelling you forward. Do not let your arms cross your centreline.

For walkers your arms are at about trouser pocket level and for runners you bring the arms up to a 90 degree angle on the flat. Relax the body, especially the shoulders where we tend to hold a lot of tension and focus ahead with your y'chi.

So for those of you who have an armswing to the sides, please stop and for those of you who don't use your arms at all or barely, please use your arms, don't be afraid to use your armswing as it will help you go forward.

Remember, the chi way is 50/50 upper/lower body making it so much more energy efficient. Enjoy.

Does Chi Walking & Chi Running help lose weight?

This is a question asked by a reader and the answer is Yes!

If you are planning a weightloss program for yourself learning the Chi Walking technique is a great idea to get you started, especially if you are carrying excess weight and are not in a position to jog/run. It goes without saying you also need to review your diet too and the combined effort will help you lose weight more efficiently.

With the Chi Walking technique you will be in a good position to walk effortless and with greater energy efficiency. You will notice that you will be able to walk your regular distance in less time or you will have more energy to walk greater distances. 

Remember, while going for a gentle stroll is good for you as it's getting you out and moving, it is not going to necessarily reduce weight as you're not increasing your heart rate which is what helps reduce weight. When you Chi Walk you will increase your cardio rate and this is when you start to burn excess fat.

With the Chi Walking you will learn alignment, posture, ankle lift, arm swing and many more techniques that will transform your walking from a chore to enjoyment. If you're like me and live in Cork or a hilly area, I could barely get up some of the steep hills without spasms in my calves, whereas with the chi walking I fly around the 2.5 miles block in no time and its completely effortless.

Later this year I intend holding half day chi walking clinics for people who want to walk with greater energy efficiency and less effort/pain. Once they have perfected the technique and have been practicing the chi walking for a couple of months and are losing weight the clinic will be followed by a half day chi running workshop so they can progress on to jogging. This way people can gradually improve their fitness level at a safe pace.  If you are interested in these consecutive half day clinics please email me on

A combination of a healthy diet and chi walking/running will help you lose weight. Add to that a positive attitude and you'll go places fast. Good luck.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Juicing Wheatgrass & other Fruit & Veg as a great energy source

For those of you who have shown interest in the wheatgrass just to suggest to you find someone with a juicer and buy some wheatgrass and juice 30mls and test it out. If you like it then buy yourself a small manual juicer if you think thats all your going to use the juicer for as opposed to juicing other fruit and veg. The reason I say this is juiced wheatgrass isn't to everyones taste. But don't forget if it's too sweet for you just add a squeeze of lemon. Just to let you know I tried the wheatgrass from the bottle in a juice bar and it doesn't really taste the same as the fresh on the spot juiced wheatgrass.

Here's a lovely juice although it might look a little scary at first:

100gm (2 generous handfuls) fresh Spinach leaves
100gm (1 thick slice) fresh Pineapple - remove the outer skin
1 medium green apple with skin

Juice the above in your electric juicer and it will give you a delicious (green frothy looking) juice and just stir before you drink. I offered my mother some last week and when she saw it she said I'll just have a tiny taste. Meanwhile I drank the rest and she came back asking for more! So don't let the look of it put you off, it really is delicious.

If you're considering buying an electric juicer I can recommend the one I bought which is the Lexen Juicer 6-in-1 multipurpose juice extractor. I did some research and found this to be the best for my price range. I use it every day and so far 6 months later all is good and its quick and easy to clean.