Freedom To Run - Ease, Efficiency, Speed

Jon Burdon, Chi Running and Chi Walking instructor based in England and Wales

I’ve started my ultra training … by walking for 5 minutes. I had an operation 8 weeks ago (not running related) and I was told not to run for 8 weeks. I asked if I could walk and was told exercise would promote my recovery (?!) As a Chi Runner, I immediately explained about low impact, relaxed techniques and the four gears of Chi Running. I asked ‘can I run if it barely alters my breath rate?’ and got the answer I was looking for.

And so I found myself, 2 days after the operation able to walk for 5 minutes at a pace that was far too slow for my 7 year old daughter (but she didn’t mind.)

I went to watch the leading runners cross the A635 / Greenfield Road checkpoint of The Spine race today (known locally as the Isle of Skye.) Fortunately my house is less than 10 mins from this Checkpoint, so we followed the runners using the online tracking and got the hot chocolate ready until they were a few mins away from the road. I run that section recularly, so I had a good idea when they would cross the road.spinerunner crossing Dean Clough

The runners had set off in some bad weather early this morning from Edale. They face either the full 268 miles of running all the way to Scotland - thats the whole of the Pennine Way - or the Challenger race (the 'Fun Run' option ?!!) which is just 100 miles to Hawes. I walked this when I was 19 in 19 days. Last year the finishing times were between 5 and 7 days (!) for the full race. Back in my teens, people spoke about doing the whole route in about a week as a light weight walk.

Chi Running is a style of running that has injury prevention as one of it's main aims. Unfortunately I can't prevent everything else that can affect your running! I've been recovering from an operation (not due to running) over the last few weeks. The Doctor took one look at my physique and knew I was a runner. He told me to take 8 weeks off. My next question... can I walk?

As a Chi Runner, I always have a few form focusses that I believe are pertinent for my own personal form at any given point in time.

The Chi running app for android is finally out. I immediately bought and gave it a whirl.

I really love the video library that is built in to this app. It's great to be able to remind yourself of the chi running focuses, and the visual reminders you get from video really help here. I would say that you need to read the book or, even better, work with an instructor before you start using the app as I feel it's strength will be as a reminder rather than as a main teacher. However, the facility to select and control the audio reminders that you during your run is absolutely fantastic. The mindful, mental focus side of chi running is incredibly important and these clips will really help with the 'form intervals' method of training which is so important to the chi runner.

All in all, this really is quite a unique app.

If the app was developed in the future to give it more of the features of more mainstream running apps such as runkeeper, endomondo and strava it could be even more popular I feel.

There is a further review and description here that is worth a read.

I've been to the Cairngorms on expedition once. I've walked past quite a few of the landscape features mentioned in this beautiful and enticing book. And that's what I did. I walked past them. There's a huge difference, in my opinion, in walking up mountains and walking through them. Nan Shepherd did teh latter. She embraced, took note, internalised, and breathed the Cairngorms in. Her writing portrays the beauty and character of the mountain range in such detail and with such awe that I challenge anyone who loves the outdoors to read this book from cover to cover without planning a trip. This book had me reaching for a map from the word go.

The book moves through different aspects of nature, and of the Caingorms - the plateau, the recesses, snow, water, air etc. The way Loch Coire an Lochan is described is so moving I can just feel myself walking out in to the cool depths of it's waters. A trip to sleep beneath Shelter Stone is also beckoning, although I imagine the way a few modern hillwalkers care for their environment may mean, sadly, it's not such a welcoming spot to spend the night.

WOW! just back from an amazing four days Chi Running Instructor Training in Berlin. As Marion, master instructor, warned us, it was very intense, but exciting and I think everyone who attended learnt a great deal. Speaking as a teacher with 15 years experience, I must say there was a high standard of professionalism exhibited by the trainers, and there equally is a high standard in personal running form and teaching ability expected of all Chi Running instructors.

Highlights for me:


I had the opportunity to work with no fewer than 9 (I think) Chi Running instructors + 12 instructor candidates from across Europe as well as Marion Meesters, Master Instructor.

Where to find me


I live in the Holme Valley, near Huddersfield and on the very northern edge of the Peak District National Park. Workshops are in venues easily accessible from:

Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield, Barnsley, Cumbria, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Wales.


Mountain Training
I am a qualified Mountain Leader, registered with the Mountain Training Association.

Photos of the Holme Valley Landscape are by Andy Leader of Made in Holmfirth

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UKA Leadership in Running Fitness qualified.

I'm UKA Leadership in Running Fitness qualified.