healthyjoel was interested in getting an update on my experience of Chi Running (aka 'falling forwards', aka 'Mrs Doyle Running'), particularly with respect to sore knees. So now I have been Chi - ing for a bit, I thought I would write a response to Joel's request, and append it to a tale of woe
It's a long post, sorry - skip to the bottom for the actual comments on Chi Running...
I was in San Antonio, Texas a few weeks ago, visiting my brother and his family. As it was a two week trip, and I have the Milton Keynes Half Marathon in early May, I thought I would pack my running gear and see what happened. What did occur was that one morning I got up early (ish) and set off along the River Walk for a supposedly easy 6K run. San Antonio River Walk is a delightful meander through the centre of the city, passing many restaurants and bars. The river was dyed a little green in preparation for St Patrick's day, which added to a general feeling of other-worldly charm.
It was a little warm, and very humid; but I was managing OK, although drinking rather more water than I usually would (I live in Hove, UK). I passed quite a few other runners along the way, many of whom gave me a little wave, as if to say "too hot to talk - but hi!"
I was almost home, passing a man with a dog, mind firmly elsewhere, when I suddenly tripped and fell. First my right knee, then my hand, shoulder, and right temple, hit the sidewalk in rapid succession. I leapt up as I felt blood come dashing down from my head - SHOCK! HORROR!!
The man: "oh my gosh!" rushed over to me, ripped a bit off the bottom of his t-shirt, and gave it to me to hold against my head. He made me sit down, which I did for a bit, but I was really worried because no-one knew where I was, so I got up again determined to leave (and actually I felt OK!). The man, whose dog was enjoying the fun :), commandeered a passing woman to walk with me for a bit. I ended up going to a medical centre and having my head glued up and my knee x-rayed - but everything was fine, I didn't even have a headache! All those strangers who helped me on the River Walk, in the neighbourhood (I got lost finding my airbnb too, ha), and at the medical centre, were so kind and lovely, I felt so so silly. And I had to rest my knee, which was quite sore and stiff, so no running for a couple of weeks after all!
So, gentle reader, the moral of this tale is: pay attention to what you're doing, and tell someone where you're going! (there's actually more to this story than I'd want to bother you with, but anyway)
So, Chi Running. Well, of course with the forward-leaning posture, one is more vulnerable to falling as I did. To avoid this problem it is necessary to pick up the feet properly, and now that I am up and running again I am being careful to pay attention to this. The other problem I have had is a slight Achilles pull, which may be due to not relaxing my lower legs enough, but could also be entirely coincidental.
The positive aspects, though, I feel I now can't deny. I have had no trouble at all with my knees since I started the Chi Running - even though the one I mashed on the sidewalk was the same that had just recovered from a nasty bout of runner's knee. I have also noticed a considerable improvement in speed, with my 10K best now standing at about 4 minutes faster than it was before I started this experiment. To clarify, I began using the method on February 23rd, and have managed only 11 runs since - or about 2 runs per week, but this is a fairly normal frequency for me. I did 18K just before I went to America, and since returning I have so far managed 15K, so I'm not tooooo worried about the half marathon...
Anyway, thanks for reading,
Love, Mrs Doyle