Chi Running

Yesterday I doubled my running distance to see what effect it would have, if any, on my legs. The exercise was to stick strictly to Danny Dryer’s Chi Running idea of foot striking just in front of the heel – but with minimalist shoes. Dryer himself runs in Nikes and it’s easy to assume that he is making an error himself due to the raised and padded heels. In addition all the blurb about barefoot running is focused on avoiding heel striking. Well it seems that Dryer is spot on as usual. For years now I’ve been suffering from recurrent doms – delayed onset of muscle soreness – after even a short layoff or any increase in speed or distance. This muscle pain was much more preferable that the plantar fasciitis and other chronic injuries that I’d been experiencing before – but no matter what strategy I used or how long I persisted the doms problem wouldn’t go away.
The one thing I wasn’t inclined to do “barefoot” was to return to heel striking. The online videos are very persuasive showing how people instantly switch to a foremost strike when going barefoot so that there is no shock through the heel. Of course all the test subjects are already aware or have had this suggested to them in advance. It would appear to be more a result of this suggestion than a physical reflex.
Yesterday I ran 10 km in minimalist shoes trying to make myself land on the heels! When there is no built up heel on the shoe it’s actually quite difficult to land on the heel. You would have to overreach the stride quite far to make it happen. Towards the end of the 10k I could feel the right heel very slightly but that’s all. I wasn’t aiming for the rear edge of the heel but the front edge as described by Dryer. It was actually hard to make it accurate and sometimes I ended up striking with the forefront or a bit further back on the heel – but most of the time it was close.
It’s the following morning now and there is no “doms” and no pain anywhere else despite the sudden increase in running distance from only 5 km up to 10 km. It will be interesting now to see the effects when the distance goes beyond 20 km which was the maximum I’d previously built up to with a forefoot strike.

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