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Guest Opinion: What if running wasn't so hard?

As a cross country coach for the past six years, I have had the opportunity to hear a lot of people’s running stories and aspirations. One of the most common stories I've heard is about the person who loved running all throughout his or her childhood and early adulthood, but then a dreaded injury prevented any hopes of running very much again in the future. The other story I've heard is about the person who hasn’t ever gotten into running – and wants to – but is afraid that it will be too painful or too much work to adopt as a new lifestyle habit.
Each of these situations has always troubled me. Even as chiropractor, I have only been able to help runners heal from injuries and strengthen their bodies. Not until recently have I been equipped with the knowledge to truly attack the problem at its source: the runner’s form. In Danny Dreyer’s Chi Running method, a system of running has been developed to utilize the body’s natural strengths for running, without placing the undue pressure on muscles and joints that can lead to injuries.
The following are some of the general principles of Chi Running:
• Proper form and strong core strength allow you to relax your arms and legs while running. Most people think they have to exert a tremendous amount of energy from their legs in order to run fast. This simply isn’t true. Running smoother is faster and more efficient that running harder.
• You can’t finish a race in one stride. Having the correct stride length can dramatically decrease your chances of injury. Over-striding can lead to IT band, knee, and ankle problems. By shortening your stride, you may have to take a few more steps in the short-term, but it will allow you to take more strides in years to come.
• The same rules apply for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have run 20 marathons or if you just want to do the Beef Days Fun Run. These running tips can help at any age, gender, or competition level. The most important part is to get from one place to another with less effort and fewer injuries.
In order to help all runners, from beginners to seasoned veterans, I will be hosting a Chi Running Workshop at Fitzpatrick Family Chiropractic on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 10:00 a.m. We will be going through the Chi Running DVD, practicing the different skills presented in the video, and taking a short run through the Windflower Lane development to apply the Chi Running principles. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. and the cost is $5.00. The registration fee will benefit the Solon Outdoor Events Center. Everyone is invited!
Dr. Fitzpatrick operates Fitzpatrick Family Chiropractic in Solon. For more information, check out our blog at www.fitzpatrickfamilychiro.blogspot.com.