Total Immersion Forums  

Go Back   Total Immersion Forums > Freestyle
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-13-2013
Danny Danny is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,442
Danny
Default Chi Running

I posted this a while ago in the forum on Terry's blogs and got no response. So I am trying it here in the hopes of getting greater exposure and perhaps some responses.

***************

A while ago Terry introduced me to Chi Running in one of his blogs and I would like to relate some of my experiences with it since then. I should first mention that, like many people, I came to swimming after chronic running injuries forced me to stop running about 15 years ago. In my case, I started tearing my hamstring over and over again in the same place and stretching, physical therapy, patience all failed to make this problem go away.

I got the Chi Running book out of my local library just to see if there might be something to it. After spending some time reading it, I went out and cautiously tried some of the exercises, and it didn't take me very long before I had an "Aha moment", by which I mean that I experienced personally, if only for a brief time, that this can really work. That's all it takes to get me hooked, and I've been working on it ever since. At the beginning of my experiments, I discovered that I could jog at a slow pace a little over 4 miles, something that was simply impossible before starting this process, because my old injuries would invariably start to act up. Chi Running seemed to allow me to avoid that entirely. In addition, I was able to experience the high of feeling like running has become like dancing, all rhythm, motion that carries your body with it. Of course, I got too excited, started pushing the pace too fast, and my technique deteriorated, with the result that I started feeling some of my old injuries again. So I have backed off, running very slowly, yesterday using my TT to maintain a fixed cadence while running, which I discovered helps me greatly.

One of the things that makes this so much fun is the vast common ground between Chi Running and TI. Both activities teach how to translate rotational motion along the long axis through your body into forward motion. In the case of swimming, you use your hips to drive your arms. In the case of running you use your arms to drive your hips and through them your legs. In both activities the key is to use gravity to help drive you forward, and the key in doing this is balance. This is perhaps the greatest challenge in learning both. I am still at the very beginning of my path with Chi Running, and I know that my old joints may be too arthritic to allow me to do this much longer, but I am feeling very excited and grateful for the discovery. I have the sense that my learnings in swimming are easing my path in learning the running technique, which is also an enormous satisfaction.

I would be interested in the experiences that any other swimmers are having with this!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-13-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,244
CharlesCouturier
Default

Ah big topic. The world leader in these matters is probably Nicolai Romanov. I too purchased the book, studied the material, but I dislike the parallels between how gravity is used in running vs how it's used in swimming.

Very simply expressed, I believe the mistake in this case is that in running, gravity is used by leaning forward. So it's a front vs back thing. In swimming, I remain convinced that the gravity does it's trick in a side to side manner, not front vs back.

Disclaimer, I strongly disagree with the idea that any limb should drive the body in swimming though. So that includes arms (TI is very strong at advocating this) but also legs. So as far as I'm concerned, although it's probably true that legs *can* drive the hips, I disagree with the idea that they *should* drive the hips. Simple, when you wear a pull buoy, you're not kicking and the rotation still takes place.

I'm a strong strong proponent of inside-out swimming. From core-to-arms, *and* from core-to-legs. Not the other way around.

I hope I don't hurt anyone here. Takes all sort of people in this world, I'm your inside-out guy, and I don't negociate on that with my own athletes (though I am keen to respect everyone's point of view especially when applied on people I don't directly coach).

As for the running techniques themselves (Chi, Pose, Newton), I teach Pose for quite some time now, with outstanding results. And I share your feeling. I feel grateful to have discovered these techniques. As a head coach, I get to decide about the major avenues/themes of a season. Early this season (2012-2013), I decided to arrange the running program in a way to lower the number of injuries. The result thus far is astonishing. Everyone here loves Pose. Most participants having followed this process (40 in total) are running injury free. A few (talented) individuals in our club rather decided to run either by themselves or with other groups. The two best representatives of this sub group are both injured. In comparison, 2 other runners of similar talent having shown signs of injuries late last competition seasons and having followed Pose running recommendation both run injury free.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 04-13-2013 at 06:53 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-13-2013
machelett machelett is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 68
machelett
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
The world leader in these matters is probably Nicolai Romanov.
His name is Nicholas.
I attended a Pose weekend workshop with Nicholas Romanov in 2008 because of my torn up left knee that swelled to the size of a melon when running for just 30 minutes. Learning proper running mechanics according to the Pose method helped. (I hate to attach the word "proper" to my running, let's call it good enough to do the trick.)
I've finished a whole bunch of half marathons and a few marathons and the knee never bugged me again.

Once you've gotten used to Dr. Romanov's strong Russian accent and understand what he says, he's very entertaining and it's obvious that he knows his stuff. What amazed me most weren't the Gulag style running drills but his huge ego. I do not know many people who are as convinced of themselves as he is. :)

I had read a couple of books on running technique before the workshop. Danny Dreyer's was among them. His approach did not appeal to me because it mostly provided the "how" and not enough of the "why" and to me it looked like a mysticized knock-off of Pose running. And I felt that way even though I read Chi Running first - it was cheaper and easier to obtain.
So I went for Pose and haven't looked back ever since, even though I've attended a few non-Pose running seminars (just like I'll immediately book any new swim seminar in a 3-hour-drive radius.) because I'm curious and audacious enough to even question the absolute truth of Dr. Romanov's teachings. ;)
I found workshops that were better structured and provided better teaching materials but at the core of the issue, Pose running is the undisputed gold standard and everybody else refers to it, even if they don't name it.
I get cautious when someone basically copies it, relabels it (just look at the countless "art of running" sites) and then slightly modifies it so that it isn't immediately recognizable. In most cases, the instructors have no plausible explanation why things should work that way.

I haven't attended the Pose swimming workshop yet because the dates for the nearby locations weren't right for me but eventually I'll give it a shot although I'm not convinced that Pose translates to swimming very well. I read the Pose Triathlon book and the swimming part simply did not click with me.
But curiosity always gets the better of me and I'll give it a shot either late this year or next. It'll be interesting to see how the focal points compare to those of the TI workshops.

Unfortunately, I already know that there is no silver bullet in swimming and that if I want to swim faster, I'll have to swim more often, longer or harder or both, and get out of the comfort zone that TI-taught streamline and balance provide and face the burning agony of propulsion along with the horrors of dry-land exercise.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-13-2013
Danny Danny is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,442
Danny
Default

Charles,

Don't take my parallels between running and swimming too seriously. There are obvious differences. For me the common ground is the process of turning rotational energy into forward motion. I might add that I find myself looking for these parallels in almost everything I do. Lately I've been trying to analyze the Nordic track ski machine motions to make them more efficient and (most importantly) more fun. Any insights you have into that would also be appreciated.

After talking to a number of good runners about Chi running, I have discovered that a lot of what is in there is common knowledge, even among people who have never heard of Chi Running. Pose running is new to me, so I just placed a hold on the book from the state library.

To me what is exciting (and I am neither a competitive runner nor swimmer) is that there does seem (at least to me ) to be a large common ground between efficient swimming and efficient running. I do feel that the perspectives I have gotten from learning swimming are helping me to learn these running techniques, although that is a very subjective reaction.

Charles, you're a details guy, and maybe you don't feel this. Does anyone else?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-14-2013
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation
Default

Danny
You're quite right. The simpatico between Chi Running and TI Swimming is quite profound. The amount of overlap and number of parallels in the way we teach focus is pretty striking. If you took instruction from both a TI coach and CR coach you would hear many of the same Focal Points.
Apart from how we convey the movement techniques the philosophical similarities are also considerable.

I was also familiar with Pose prior to Chi Running. Nicholas observed a half day of our coach training in the early '00s and we sent one of our coaches through his training. But I didn't feel there was much of a connection. Nicholas seemed quite rigid and dogmatic. Whereas when I met Danny and took a workshop with him, his manner was quite gentle.
Nicholas was quite western in his approach. Danny was obviously very eastern in his. (I also think that Nicholas's move into offering swim workshops suggests a degree of hubris.)

Though I don't run any more because of my arthritic spine won't permit, I did have a great experience and saw wonderful improvement in the quality and enjoyment of my running, after taking a workshop with Danny. Danny also took a TI Workshop with me and did brilliantly.

So associating ourselves with CR was an easy call.

And by the way, Charles we absolutely do not advocate driving the body with the arms. We are quite consistent in saying that the arms have three primary 'jobs.'
1) Lengthen the body
2) Separate water molecules
3) Hold your place.
We've been unequivocal in saying you should use weight shift -- and gravity -- to propel the body.

Please exercise more care in making such assertions.
__________________
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 04-14-2013 at 12:14 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-14-2013
Janos Janos is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Liverpool, England
Posts: 389
Janos
Default

Danny, I agree that there is a direct link between proper running technique and the TI theory. I was a bit disappointed with the link between TI and Chi running. Chi running, like Pose advocates running out of balance with shorter strides and a high cadence.The exact opposite of TI principles. Whereas a proper running stride where the body drives past the standing leg using proper technique is the same as a swimmer using his core to drive past his catch arm. I am a runner and have never finished outside the top 10% in any race I have entered. The best book I have read on running is Explosive Running by Dr Yessis, and would recommend it to anybody. His theories about specific strength training should be used to explore its benefit to TI swimmers. Ultra specific core exercises based on the muscles used during the drive phase would be an interesting experiment.

Janos

Last edited by Janos : 04-14-2013 at 07:47 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-14-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,244
CharlesCouturier
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
And by the way, Charles we absolutely do not advocate driving the body with the arms.
...
Please exercise more care in making such assertions.
I know this Terry and I'm sorry as what I said probably came out the wrong way..

Simply stated, I just expressed that TI strongly advocate inside (core) out (arms) swimming. I've known this since the first time I read the yellow book about 10y ago.

But for me, legs/feet are limbs, just like arms. They 'can' contribute to core rotation, but I'm not comfortable with the idea that they 'must' or even 'should'. So for me, inside-out swimming means core-to-arms and core-to-legs.

This is minor disagreement area though, it's the pool buoy area. For me, this tool doesn't significantly modify stroke mechanics, as body can rotate by itself without any help from the kick.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 04-14-2013 at 02:51 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-14-2013
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janos View Post
Chi running, like Pose advocates running out of balance with shorter strides and a high cadence.The exact opposite of TI principles.
Janos
Though I'm hesitant to speak for Danny Dreyer, having taken the ChiRunning workshop and communicated quite often with Danny over the years, I've come away with a different impression of what they advocate. I also think it's important to consider the big picture when considering CR -- or any other program -- as a method. Not only technical details, but the overall effect of what they advocate.

My impression is that they advocate the following
1) Injury Free Running -- Considering that at any given moment, 50% or more of runners are injured, this strikes me as an unequivocally valuable contribution.
2) Natural Running -- During my workshop, Danny referred frequently to the way we run as children before thoughts of 'must run faster' and being introduced to overly-constructed shoes. During our workshop in NYC's Central Park, Danny pointed to some kids running playfully past. And indeed I did note some resemblance.
3) Balanced Running -- Danny emphasized keeping your point of support under your center of mass -- taking care to avoid letting your point of support get out in front of your mass. This accords 100% with our emphasis on balance.
4) Light and Easy Running -- The style Danny demonstrated for us looked remarkably similar to the Kenyan marathoners who dominate the world today -- small, light strides with brisk, easy rhythm. (I've had some opportunity to observe them up close as a group of elite Kenyans used to spend summers in New Paltz running on our great network of cool, shaded trails.) After I learned CR I felt light on my feet - not plodding - for the first time in my life.

What I know of Dr Yessis is that his professional emphasis is on high performance. Whereas Danny's is on running for health and enjoyment. Even Yessis' title "Explosive Running" (though I'm not familiar with its content) on its face conveys something quite different from Injury Free Running. Going by 'keywords' alone, TI would seem far more likely to find common ground with Chi Running than with Yessis.

Having said that, what we know is swimming. Not running.
__________________
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 04-14-2013 at 12:55 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-14-2013
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation
Default What Inside-Out Means

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
But for me, legs/feet are limbs, just like arms. They 'can' contribute to core rotation, but I'm not comfortable with the idea that they 'must' or even 'should'. So for me, inside-out swimming means core-to-arms and core-to-legs.
Charles, we both believe in Inside-Out Swimming. Ergo there's no disagreement. Thank you for introducing the term to this discussion because, while it was quite prominent in TI lexicon on the 90s, in recent years it has fallen into disuse.

I first heard the term 'inside-out swimming' in a talk given by Bill Boomer at an ASCA World Clinic in San Francisco in 1988. I'd never heard it used by any other coach nor seen it written in any book. So it seems credit for it should be given to Boomer.

Its elegant simplicity appealed to me immediately, but as it was a wholly new framework for assessing and teaching technique, it took me several years to appreciate how wide-ranging it could be. The first nugget I got was during that talk, when Boomer said "Swimming rhythms should always be developed in the core -- not the extremities." (As someone contemplating official status as a Swim Smooth coach, you should consider whether they way they advocate--in what I consider a non-nuanced way--for higher tempo swimming is in accord with your belief in inside-out swimming.)

It took longer for me to appreciate that Inside-Out Swimming also means that energy and power in swimming should originate with core-rotation (both Long and Short Axis) and be channeled through or applied in the limbs.

The most eye-opening insight I got from Boomer was on how to visually assess technique. From 1990 through 1992 Bill came to one TI weeklong camp as a guest coach each summer. While coaching on deck with him at Mt Holyoke College in 1992, he made a series of observations about various campers in the water. I had to admit to him I couldn't see what he was referring to.

Bill's response was: "Don't look at the arms and legs; look at the core." As soon as I focused my attention solely on torso movement, what had eluded me before became as plain as day. Ever since I've studied swimming Inside-->Out and my vision has been far clearer.

For 20+ years everything we teach has been influenced by that principle -- including teaching people who to develop Inside Out race plans.

This is one reason we advocate for the 2BK as the default choice for fitness and distance and OW swimming. The 2BK--when skillfully tuned to weight shifts--is 95% Inside Out. Whereas the 6BK is predominantly Outside-In.
__________________
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 04-14-2013 at 01:25 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-14-2013
Danny Danny is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,442
Danny
Default

Terry, Charles,

I found the above discussion of inside out very useful. I just got back from a morning run, and I tried to apply it there. Until now, I have been having trouble with the notion of using my arms to drive my hips and legs, and I found that the notion of using my core to drive both arms and legs when running works much better for me. I am also using the Tempo Trainer when I run. My technique is not always pretty, and I find that the TT is the best early warning system, when things start to fall apart. Then it's time to back off on speed and regroup. I hope that this will also give me protection against re-injuring myself.

Later this week, when I get back in the pool, I will try to use the inside out philosophy as a focal point when swimming. This is precisely the sort of commonality between the two that I find so fascinating.

Janos, I ordered your book from the library, although, as Terry says, the title is a little scary for someone like me.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.