Freedom To Run - Ease, Efficiency, Speed

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

Just getting out in to the outdoors and exercising releases endorphins and has a calming, healing effect. So what makes Chi Running and Walking more beneficial than other ways of moving? These are just my thoughts, no grand claims or scientific evidence (yet.)

Ever heard that our words create our thoughts, and our thoughts create our lives? Well I'm reliably informed that our thoughts, feelings and actions are locked in a lightning fast circle of cause and effect. We are so often living in a way which reacts to our emotions and state of mind, with no idea how to 'put the breaks on' and slow things down a bit. How do you intervene and reduce stress when everything is whizzing around in your head?

Well, we could have a long discussion about mindfulness here, which in my opinion underpins the whole of chi running. But lets leave that for another blog post and step back a bit. Let's get back to the thoughts, feelings and actions whizzing round in our brains. What's the most effective way to tackle stress? Well we could try and tackle the thoughts and feelings ... well let's face it. Here in the UK we are terrible at talking about our feelings or even admitting to anyone (or even ourselves?) that stress is getting to us. We can see it as a sign of weakness, or maybe we don't know just how good life can be when we let go of some of the stress and find the peace at the centre of things. Those who do seek help often spend a long time with a councillor or psychologist going over their past experiences and painful feelings. Maybe there is another way that might help us sometimes, or at least form part of the picture.

A few people have asked me if Chi Running is the same as, or similar to, a minimalist running style. So here I am offering my (humble) opinions. I'm by no means the expert here, any there can be a lot of confusion between natural running / barefoot running / minimal running etc.

To start with, bear in mind Chi Running is a mid foot running style. It is believed by Danny Dreyer, inventor of Chi Running that this is the way of running with least impact and least risk on injury.

To dip in to this further, I thought I'd open the latest copy of Trail Running Magazine (August / September 2013.) There is an article entitled 'Is Minimalist For You?'

Now I've started my Chi Running instructor training, quite a few people have been asking me how far on I am and what my plans are, so... time for an update. Before this point I have attended courses, been reading about Chi Running, studying DVD material, and applying this in my personal running for the last 2-3 years.

Study phase. This is where I am now!
I'm currently a few weeks in to a 12 week study period. I study the instructor materials alongside other books, videos and articles. I am testing out my teaching skills on a small group of friends and family which is great fun. I'm also mastering use of my ipad for video recording, immediate slow motion feedback and also for display of demonstration videos and visuals. I use this to prepare detailed feedback and 'next steps' for all the runners I work with.

I travel to Berlin for a 4 day intensive course, lead by a Master instructor. This will be a great opportunity to meet with those who teach running at an international level.

Book and DVD Review: Chi Walk to Run - Fitness for Life!

There are lots different ways to 'get in to' Chi walking and running. I've studied this book and DVD set tonight, as I have a friend who wants to transition from walking her dog in to going for a run.

The DVD is full if really helpful posture checks and visual demonstrations. It reiterates lots of key concepts from the Chi Walking and Chi running materials. Ideas to remind you about key concepts on posture such as 'Sit up in your chair' and the 'C shape' really do help reinforce the book. There is advise I would suggest probably all walkers and runners could do with, such as how to reduce injury risk from toe off. Examples and explanation of good arm swing are also very useful. If you are a visual person, I'd really suggest using a DVD such as this alongside the books if you are thinking about learning Chi Walking or Running.
Personally I could loose the pan pipes.

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

Freedom To Run Newsletter

As seen in Runners World

UKA Leadership in Running Fitness qualified.

I'm UKA Leadership in Running Fitness qualified.