EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

March 24, 2013

Chi and the fine art of a more efficient way of running

Popularity of chi running growing rapidly as benefits become apparent

Perhaps curiosity just got the better of Andover’s Ryan Miller.

As a former runner of distinction at Natick High and Fitchburg State, and then as an employee at New Balance in Lawrence, Miller has been around plenty of runners.

More and more, the 26-year-old Miller was struck by the varying experiences of runners, not so much in performance but in health and enjoyment.

“Working at New Balance particularly, I saw people who were still running great after a lot of years of running. I saw what it had done for them, but I also saw others who were in great pain or couldn’t run at all.”

Why was this?

This brought Miller back to a book he first picked up as a student and read in 2004 written by Dan Dreyer. He talks about proper running style, which includes better posture, using your core muscles, running more on the middle of your foot than landing heel first, relaxation and proper mental focus.

These are the basic elements that make up chi running, which combines T’ai Chi with a more efficient, enjoyable form of running.

Miller took many of the elements stressed in Dreyer’s book and applied them to his own running. He responded with better performances and more enjoyable workouts and races. He also avoided the soreness and injuries that had bothered him in the past.

Later, while working at New Balance, he noticed the disparity of running experiences and realized that the more positive experiences were often from runners who applied chi principles.

“Then I went to a meeting. I met Dan Dreyer and told him about how his book had helped me,” said Miller. “He was excited. He saw how I added some credibility.

“I took one of his classes and then I took an instructor certification class so I can teach it.”

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