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Chi Running

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  #1  
Old 26th June 2012, 11:54 AM
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Default Chi Running

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Evening all,

Whilst perusing Twitter I saw a post with a link to the New York Times discussing Chi Running:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...imit-injuries/

Having read over it, could someone please explain to me what "proper running form" is?



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Old 26th June 2012, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

[rant warning]

Its just more nonsensical rhetoric and propaganda, and ignorance of the evidence.

I purchased the Chi Marathon book discussed on that blog. First thing I did was open at a random page and it was discussing Lieberman's article in Nature and mentioned that how he compared the foot strike patterns of runners in Africa with those those who wore shoes from Harvard ... duh? Lieberman eliminated the African runners from their analysis!! How can you trust any book that starts of getting basic facts wrong? I tried a few other pages and they made similar nonsensical claims. I put the book down and have not picked it up since.

The book also fall into the classic natural fallacy trap (I discussed that here). There is nothing natural about it!.

In my review of Tread Lightly (a good book), I commented:
Quote:
I have purchased a number of barefoot/minimalist books in order to learn and understand and have been bitterly disappointed in almost all of them. They were nothing but rhetoric and propaganda and a total misrepresentation, misuse, etc of the science. They were just like the cure cancer snake oil books. They read like manifestos from political parties, in that the party faithful love them, but they are useless to anyone else to get a better understanding. The books I purchased were based on recommendations from barefoot and natural running websites. I have made a note to myself to be more trusting of the one-star reviews on Amazon.com, as they are more likely to be on the mark, especially if the party faithful start attacking the one-star reviews.
It was books like the ones on Chi Running I was referring to (and I own several). Look at some of the 1-star reviews at Amazon.com on them. They pretty much on the mark.

I continue to be amazed at how gullible people are to fall for the rhetoric and propaganda. There is no second coming of the messiah!

Even the term "good running form" is nonsenscial as there is no such thing. Its a marketing gimmick. There is no one best way to run for everyone and anyone marketing an approach (ie Chi, Pose, 100-up, Minimalist, Heel striking, etc) as the best way to run is talking through a hole in their heads. Their is no one best way or running form for everyone. The best one is what suits the individual runner, and for some, that could be Chi running,

Just look at the picture here: http://biomechanics.byu.edu/footstrikesmens10k.jpg
The are the finalists in the mens 10k at the USA Olympic Trials - look at all the different foot strike patterns ... they are the best of best ... the elite .... is anyone going to try and convince people that one running form is better than another? (...even I was surprised at how many are heel striking at that speed!)

There is no doubt that some runners with a history of injury who were running one way, transition to running a different way and now get less injuries. There is also no doubt that some who do that get more injuries! As I commented in this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
Different running styles overload different tissues. It is a zero sum game (ie one of Newton's Laws). You can not reduce the load on one tissue without increasing it in another.

ie
Heel stiking --> greater impacts; greater ankle plantarflexion moments
Forefoot striking --> greater rearfoot eversion moments; greater ankle dorsiflexion moments; greater forefoot dorsiflexion moments

Each of those loads have an increased injury risk associated with them and if the tissues can not adapt and that load exceeds what the tissues can take --> injury
What does the evidence say:
Quote:
Kleindienst (2003) - 471 runners; no difference between rearfoot and forefoot strikers concerning the frequency of injury
Walther (2005) - 1203 runners; no difference in incidence of injury between rearfoot and forefoot strikers; however, the location and kind of injury and complaints are different.
Daoud (2012) - 52 almost elite level runners; 2x more injuries in heel strikers
Chi running will work for some runners. It will not work for others. To sell it as a panacea is nonsensical. ... and of course, you have to buy the book, buy the DVD and buy the course ... anyone see the pattern?
[/rant over]
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  #3  
Old 26th June 2012, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Just look at the picture here: http://biomechanics.byu.edu/footstrikesmens10k.jpg
The are the finalists in the mens 10k at the USA Olympic Trials - look at all the different foot strike patterns ... they are the best of best ... the elite .... is anyone going to try and convince people that one running form is better than another?
Great image to use - thanks Craig. I have posted on my clinics facebook page
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Old 26th June 2012, 02:01 PM
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Old 26th June 2012, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by BEN-HUR View Post
Here is the female footstrike data from the U.S Olympic trials 10 000m...

http://biomechanics.byu.edu/footstrikeswomens10k.jpg


Apparently the data is collected by a BYU biomechanist Iain Hunter.
Robin, you'll find this useful also - was posted in the recent rearfoot, midfoot, forefoot runner debate.



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Old 26th June 2012, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
I purchased the Chi Marathon book discussed on that blog. First thing I did was open at a random page and it was discussing Lieberman's article in Nature and mentioned that how he compared the foot strike patterns of runners in Africa with those those who wore shoes from Harvard ... duh? Lieberman eliminated the African runners from their analysis!! How can you trust any book that starts of getting basic facts wrong? I tried a few other pages and they made similar nonsensical claims. I put the book down and have not picked it up since.

The book also fall into the classic natural fallacy trap (I discussed that here). There is nothing natural about it!.

In my review of Tread Lightly (a good book), I commented:
It was books like the ones on Chi Running I was referring to (and I own several). Look at some of the 1-star reviews at Amazon.com on them. They pretty much on the mark.

I continue to be amazed at how gullible people are to fall for the rhetoric and propaganda. There is no second coming of the messiah!
For anyone considered the dark side and start reading all these books on the second coming, read these books first:
Quote:
The 3 most recent books I just finished reading have been:

Believing Bull**** by Stephen Law:
Quote:
Stephen Law offers us not only a primer on how not to believe but about why so many people do believe-bull****, despite the lack of evidence for such beliefs, or even in the face of disconfirmatory evidence. It is a roadmap to a promised land free of undue credulity, where the best ideas win and 'intellectual black holes' no longer suck people in. Believing Bull**** should be read by every college freshman and every person seeking public office, and its strategies memorized and put to use by every critical thinker.
Counterknowledge by Damian Thompson
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The Believing Brain: How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths by Michael Sermer
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Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.
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Old 26th June 2012, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
[rant warning]

Its just more nonsensical rhetoric and propaganda, and ignorance of the evidence.

Even the term "good running form" is nonsenscial as there is no such thing. Its a marketing gimmick. There is no one best way to run for everyone and anyone marketing an approach (ie Chi, Pose, 100-up, Minimalist, Heel striking, etc) as the best way to run is talking through a hole in their heads. Their is no one best way or running form for everyone. The best one is what suits the individual runner, and for some, that could be Chi running,

Chi running will work for some runners. It will not work for others. To sell it as a panacea is nonsensical. ... and of course, you have to buy the book, buy the DVD and buy the course ... anyone see the pattern?
[/rant over]
Craig, thankyou so much for your constructive reply, as always. I also agree with what you have been saying, as each person runs as an individual.

But also, if there is so called "good running form", then what on earth is "bad running form"!!!! But then if you do look like Jimmy 5 bellies (apologies, UK reference circa late 90's), chances are you're not going to be either a Chi runner, a POSE runner, or any other type of runner for that matter.



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Old 26th June 2012, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by James Welch View Post
f there is so called "good running form", then what on earth is "bad running form"!!!!
According to the Evangelists from the Church, bad running form is heel striking! As you can see from the photos linked above, there are plenty of elite runners running very fast with a heel strike!
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Old 26th June 2012, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

Bloomin' nora! I wish I could run that bad.

Oh yeh, they were flying pigs.....
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Old 26th June 2012, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by James Welch View Post
Bloomin' nora! I wish I could run that bad.
A month or so ago, I did some high speed filming of the foot strike of most of the runners in a 5k fun run. I did it for no particular reason other than I wanted it for some background videos (will post it up here soon) .... what struck me as they all ran past the camera was that the vast majority of them probably could not give a damn about the rhetoric and propaganda about running form ... they just want to go out for a run.


BTW, of the few thousand runners, there was one Merrel and one Vibram - all the rest were in traditional running shoes.

It is easy to mock the rhetoric and propaganda and the silly nonsensical claims that get made for Chi and for Pose and for barefoot and for ... (actually the Pose supporters are often the most fun to mock as they seem to be more sensitive to criticisms than the others!), we do have to spend more energy looking at and considering running form, but from my perspective its about making modifications to the running technique to lower the stress on the tissue that they are having the most problems with ... its not about one form being better than another. For example, forefoot striking is probably the way to go for anterior compartment syndrome; forefoot striking is likely to be disastrous for posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

If those that tout once particular form over another could get away from the rhetoric and propaganda (ie the second coming) and nonsensical interpretation of the science and stop trying to sell snake oil and talk about what is consistent with what the evidence is telling us, then they will be taken more seriously.
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Old 26th June 2012, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
According to the Evangelists from the Church, bad running form is heel striking! As you can see from the photos linked above, there are plenty of elite runners running very fast with a heel strike!
It seems the top 2 were more towards the forefoot?.

3 out of the top 4.
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Old 27th June 2012, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by Sicknote View Post
It seems the top 2 were more towards the forefoot?.

3 out of the top 4.
You're kind of missing my point. My original query was what is "proper running form", not whether someone is a forefoot, midfoot or rearfoot runner. (there are several other threads dealing with this topic)

I don't get what the phrase means, because to me it doesn't really seem to mean anything.

I appreciate that there are forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot runners at all levels, and as you can see from the two pictures shown above there is a complete mixture across all 20 athletes in the USA trials (irrespective of gender) and this is the elite! I would suggest there is a mixture across the board, but with more sprinters being forefoot runners and more long distance athletes being midfoot or rearfoot runners, as seen in the video clips below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h53UTHVCc7g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH-3c...eature=related

This still doesn't answer my question...what is "proper running form"?



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Old 27th June 2012, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Welch View Post
This still doesn't answer my question...what is "proper running form"?
I can think of two definitions:
1. Good running form is whatever the guru that you currently worship this week says it is

or

2. Good running form is that technique of running that is metabolically efficient and biomechanically sound for each individual runner.


BTW, I have not had any hate mail yet from any Chi Runners (a little surprised at that!) but if you go back and read what I wrote, I never actually said that there is anything wrong with Chi running. For definition (2), for some people that will be Chi running..... but they also really good at touting definition (1) which is what I object to.
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Old 28th June 2012, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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It seems the top 2 were more towards the forefoot?.

3 out of the top 4.
I was just wandering, do heel strikers tend too lean back more than forefoot strikers?.

Leaning back more will make you more in-efficient.


Quote:
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I don't get what the phrase means, because to me it doesn't really seem to mean anything.
It figures forefoot is better considering the placings.
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Old 28th June 2012, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by Sicknote View Post
I was just wandering, do heel strikers tend too lean back more than forefoot strikers?.

Leaning back more will make you more in-efficient.

This guy was pretty efficient even though he adopted a more leant back posture than his rivals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbqy1Rpjgmw Despite "leaning back" he was still forefoot striking too.

Quote:
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It figures forefoot is better considering the placings.
No. It shows that those guys happened to win in this instance. How do you explain those with a forefoot strike pattern who finished behind those with a rearfoot strike pattern? If forefoot is better, then we should have seen everyone with a forefoot strike finishing in front of all of those with a rearfoot strike. This did not occur because it's not that simple.
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Old 28th June 2012, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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This guy was pretty efficient even though he adopted a more leant back posture than his rivals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbqy1Rpjgmw Despite "leaning back" he was still forefoot striking too.
Looking at the picture below, he still seems to create more forward lean than his rivals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Spooner View Post
No. It shows that those guys happened to win in this instance. How do you explain those with a forefoot strike pattern who finished behind those with a rearfoot strike pattern? If forefoot is better, then we should have seen everyone with a forefoot strike finishing in front of all of those with a rearfoot strike. This did not occur because it's not that simple.
Other factors are certainly involved, no question about that.

It's just in this instance forefoot strikers won out. Why?. Personally I would buy that forefoot striking has the better potential of using gravity (efficiency) than what we see with heel strikers.

This increase in lean allows gravity to pull you forward at a faster rate, and voila—your speed increases.
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Old 28th June 2012, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

Pictures can be deceiving. Check the video as they approach the top bend and compare with his team mate outside him.

Gravity acts downwards, it can't pull you forward, only downwards.
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Old 28th June 2012, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Gravity acts downwards, it can't pull you forward, only downwards.
To witness how gravity affects forward movement simply mark out 10 metres or so.

First, walk perfectly upright/vertically over the 10m distance.
Then repeat the same process with more forward lean.

You should witness the difference is quite substantial on how fast your able to cover the ground.
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Old 28th June 2012, 02:21 AM
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To witness how gravity affects forward movement simply mark out 10 metres or so.

First, walk perfectly upright/vertically over the 10m distance.
Then repeat the same process with more forward lean.

You should witness the difference is quite substantial on how fast your able to cover the ground.
Draw it out as free body diagram, add in gravity. Gravity always acts downward ergo it cannot pull you forward. End of story. If I get time later I'll do it for you. If you walk at a higher velocity when leaning forward it's due to some factor other than gravity. Explain to me how gravity pulls someone forward...
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Old 28th June 2012, 02:31 AM
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Draw it out as free body diagram, add in gravity. Gravity always acts downward ergo it cannot pull you forward. End of story. If I get time later I'll do it for you. If you walk at a higher velocity when leaning forward it's due to some factor other than gravity. Explain to me how gravity pulls someone forward...
No. Running is a series of controlled falls.
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Old 28th June 2012, 03:21 AM
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No. Running is a series of controlled falls.
Whether its series of controlled falls or not, gravity is never pulling you forward. Thus, your contention is wrong.

Why not view running as a series of controlled leaps? We have to leap before we can fall when running.
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Old 28th June 2012, 05:49 AM
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Sicknote, I think Simon has got in before me and answered the question.

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Originally Posted by Simon Spooner View Post
This guy was pretty efficient even though he adopted a more leant back posture than his rivals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbqy1Rpjgmw Despite "leaning back" he was still forefoot striking too.
That commentary is amazing...I'm pretty sure that's the only reason you've posted it.

And yes pretty efficient......
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Old 28th June 2012, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by Sicknote View Post
To witness how gravity affects forward movement simply mark out 10 metres or so.

First, walk perfectly upright/vertically over the 10m distance.
Then repeat the same process with more forward lean.

You should witness the difference is quite substantial on how fast your able to cover the ground.
The gravitational effect is still pulling you down, not forwards. It's purely over a larger area (I'll explain it in greater detail later, but I'm at work at the moment.)

For now, let us use this highly scientific video to show it's effect:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPFVgkqfdu0



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Old 28th June 2012, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

Here's Michael Johnson to the right of frame and Jerome Young (drug cheat) to the left of frame. I've tried to capture from roughly the same point in the gait cycle. Looks like Young is leaning further forward than Johnson to me, yet Johnson still whips is ass.
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File Type: jpg johnson2.jpg (59.4 KB, 215 views)
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Old 28th June 2012, 06:06 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

Quote:
He's Michael Johnson to the right of frame and Jerome Young (drug cheat) to the left of frame. I've tried to capture from roughly the same point in the gait cycle. Looks like Young is leaning further forward than Johnson to me, yet Johnson still whips is ass
I downloaded the same video- he certainly had a distinctive running style.
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Old 28th June 2012, 06:18 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by CraigT View Post
I downloaded the same video- he certainly had a distinctive running style.
If you watch this video from about 2:48 you get a slow-mo of him breaking the 200m world record, you can see his forefoot strike pattern quite clearly here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FEh7...eature=related

P.S. Its easier to just watch than try to freeze frame it.

To quote the commentator "That familiar upright running style" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFxH9...eature=related Here's another still from this race (I'd actually go for backward lean here but it might just be parallax)
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Old 28th June 2012, 07:12 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

This is a fantastic picture... Note how the guy in 2nd has a marked forward learn of the head and torso and appears to have a rearfoot strike, while Johnson is leaning back and taking the glory spot.

The guy in 3rd who's at midstance has full foot contact here...hmmm.
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Old 28th June 2012, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

I paid the princely sum of £140 to go on a Chi course and find out what it is about. Is it possible that in picking out pictures of elite runners you are somehow missing the point? No one attending my course was elite, honed and sculpted into the perfect shape. There was something on foot strike but that was not the whole point.

Most peope attending had fairly bad standing posture, let alone running. (Can we agree that there is a good vs poor standing posture?) Chi running first sets out to improve basic standing posture, and to translate that into good running posture - core stability, head position, arm swing. Watching runners in my local park, I often want to plead with them to stop damaging themselves the way they force their bodies round. Imagine the damage done to the spine by standing for hours at that funny angle, let alone running. Chi would be a good place for an amateur runner to start thinking about this.

Chi running emphasised a runner's priorities - form, distance and speed in that order. A good, safe approach that I am sure, for an amateur.

Another interesting idea was the use of pain symptoms as something to educate.. My achilles hurts. What does that say about how I am running? Can I adjust my stride, am I going too far, too fast?

In my view, Chi very much develops a more thoughtful approach to running. There might or might not be a "proper" running form, but for many of us there might be a "better" form.
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Old 28th June 2012, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by Jonix View Post
Can we agree that there is a good vs poor standing posture?)
No

I don't think the point is being missed. Whether it is better form or good form, the point is that the optimum varies with the individual. The showing of elite runners illustrates this nicely.

Most of the regular posters on here accept that Chi running is good for some individuals and bad for others. Similarly, heel striking is good for some and bad for others

If Chi running is a way of running with "better form", that makes it a panacea, something that most of the aforementioned posters are uncomfortable with.

How do you know that the runners in the park with "poor form" are damaging themsleves? Because it is logical and seems to make sense.

Unfortunately, that is not science. See below for why something logical is not always correct

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Old 28th June 2012, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Chi Running

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Originally Posted by RobinP View Post
No

I don't think the point is being missed. Whether it is better form or good form, the point is that the optimum varies with the individual. The showing of elite runners illustrates this nicely.
It's so cool, I'll post it again. In this race who had the best "form"? Johnson, obviously. Who had the second best "form"? The guy in 2nd, obviously. Who had the 3rd best "form"... etc, etc. So, we might conclude from this that whoever wins a race has the best "form" in that race and the guy in 2nd had the second best "form" in that race, etc. Note how the "form" of these individuals is different in the photo below.

In another race, a guy leaning forward and rearfoot striking might be the winner, while the guy leaning back and forefoot striking might be in 2nd. What does this tell us? It tells us the "form" is not necessarily predictive of winning a race.

Now, lets build a multivariate model to see who will win the 100m at the olympics in London in a few week time. I'm guessing that all of the finalists will be forefoot strikers, so regardless of who wins, they will be a forefoot striker. So, strike position will not in any way differentiate the winner from the loser- agreed? Thus, strike position will not be a good predictor of speed over the 100m final, nor of the winner within this sample. Moreover, other factors will be much better predictors of winning within the model. Y'all understand? I understand that foot-strike position is only one element of the so called "form" of a runner, but it helps exemplify here.

"Form" for what though? Winning races? Isn't competitive running all about winning races? Or, avoiding injury? These may not be the same thing in terms of "form".

So, lets do it again and build a multivariate model to see who'll get injured during the finals of the 100m at the olympics. Again, I'm guessing that all of the finalists will be forefoot strikers, so regardless of who pulls up with an injury, they will be a forefoot striker. So, strike position will not in any way differentiate the injured from the uninjured- agreed? Thus, strike position will not be a good predictor of injury over 100m, within this sample. And other factors will prove to be much better predictors within the model.

It's just one of those funny sampling/ statistical things. And something to be aware of when reading research.

Finally, lets take our guy in 2nd place in the photo, lets say at the end of the race he found he'd strained his Achilles tendon. If we measured various characteristics of his "form"- forward lean of the torso, foot strike pattern etc and compared that to those of his rivals and built a model, we might conclude that his "form" predicted his injury. But what if he was the only one in the field of runners carrying the genetic marker for Achilles tendonosis, but we hadn't tested for this nor included it as a variable within our model? How do we differentiate the "form" from the genetic marker as the predisposition to injury? If we have known factors which are predictive of winning or getting injured, but don't include them in our model, other factors might seem to be important, when in reality they are not.

What if we could count the proportion of fast twitch fibres in all of Johnson's muscles and compare that to his fellow competitors here? Might that be a better predictor within the model to predict winning over the "form" variables?

As Bill Donaldson alluded to in another thread, and I don't want to get embroiled in this, what if we used skin colour as a predictor for finishing position in our picture here? Answer: it should probably be a better predictor of race position than "form". And if Christophe Lemaitre wins the 100m at the London olympics and we put skin colour into our model to predict the winner....... Y'all see what happens when the sample isn't well balanced in terms of a particular variable?

Sorry to burst all the white caucasian runners bubbles out there....... but your chances of winning at the 2012 Olympics are pretty slim, regardless of your running "form". Predictions anyone?

If only it was so simple as "form".
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