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Freedom to Run: Blog.

Reasons I Run Every Day

It keeps me motivated When you run every day, you start to look at life differently. Instead of asking yourself the question ‘should I go running today?’ the whole thing gets reframed. You start asking ‘when will go running?’ instead. This whole thing has a ripple effect and I’m sure it makes you more determined

Gradual Progress – Step by Step

I’ve written several blogs on this principle before. I just keep coming back to the belief that this is one of the fundamental cornerstones for runners, and wanted to put this right at the top of my list for client advice in the next phase of my coaching. I meet so many runners who have

The Mindful Athlete, Secrets to Pure Performance, by George Mumford

Here are some of my thoughts on The Mindful Athlete, along with some key quotes from the book. Most of us accept that being mentally focussed when we are running is important, what if we could go further? Have you ever had one of those runs where everything just ‘flows’ and becomes easy? You can’t

Finding flow

I was pleased that I stayed pretty much mentally focused and present in my own body for the entirety of the run. Just 1 mile. I’d say it felt like a 2 out of 10 for effort. When I checked my watch it was a 6 minute 41 second mile. I can tell you for

Run for your life

A friend mentioned Dynamic Running Therapy on facebook a short while ago and when the book title ‘Run for your Life’ grabbed my attention I was immediately hooked. This book, subtitled ‘mindful running for a happy life’ brings running and therapy together. We seem to be scared of the therapy room (for some reason) in

The Chi Marathon Principle

I thought I’d put a few thoughts together to summarise some of the key messages from the Chi Marathon book by Danny and Katherine Dreyer. “I had won three major marathons, Berlin (1997), London and Amsterdam (both 1998). I had very fruitful years with four world cross country silver medals, one European cross-country gold medal,

6 ways to run more efficiently in 2017 … and for ever.

​Do you want to take your running further in 2017? Whatever your goal, Chi Running can help your running to feel easier and more efficient. Here are a variety of ways to become more efficient. They are all basic principles of the current understanding of good running technique and fundamentals Chi Running technique. Run Tall

6 Reasons I LOVE my local Parkrun

I go to Huddersfield parkrun every week and I can’t see me ever stopping this fantastic habit. It’s not just running … it’s parkrun. Some of the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things are just amazing. One chap is just about to finish running 2000 miles this year after suffering a heart attack on

The Geneva Marathon 8th May 2016 – Review

Why Geneva? We headed out to Geneva to run Becky’s (my wife’s) first marathon. To be honest we hadn’t heard of the event when it popped up in a Facebook advert. We looked at the cost of the event (£50 each) and then waited until Easyjet flight prices from Manchester (£50 each) were announced. It

Why do we struggle to do things that are good for us?

This blog caught my attention. I thought I’d post a response. The blog suggests that there are three reasons why we struggle to do things that are good for us (eg eat well, exercise.) 1. Lack of Awareness – we aren’t aware of what to do. 2. Lack of Permission – we don’t give ourselves permission to do what we

I just ran at 4000m altitude … in London!

I just got back from an inspirational workshop with Patrick McKeown, leading global expert on the buteyko breathing method and developer of The Oxygen Advantage approach to breathing for runners.  The day included a combination of the theory and science behind the Buteyko method and how it applies to running. We had plenty of practical

The Oxygen Advantage – Book review from a Chi Running perspective

The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick Mckeown – a book review from a Chi Running perspective. The books starts with some essentials on how breathing works. I love the title of the website ‘The Oxygen Advantage – Simulate High Altitude Training.’ This is a great introduction and easy for the non scientist to follow. It’s fascinating to find

Learn How To Walk (mindfully)

I’ve absolutely loved reading around this subject, and the latest book that I have read is one of the best if you are interested in the mindful (and even spiritual?) side of Chi Running Walking… or if you are just interested in stress reduction. The book is ‘How To Walk’ by Thich Nhat Hanh. Each

Recovery

If you don’t recover between training sessions then you can quite easily over-train; which in turn can lead to a weakened and vulnerable immune system, illness and a limited ability to adapt to the stimulus of training sessions and improve performance. There are several things you can do to avoid over training; including simply evaluating

Raw Nutrition for Runners

The Chi Running book has a whole section on Chi Living and also discusses diet. Diet plays a central role in becoming a better runner. I recently qualified as a Sport and Exercise Nutritional Advisor and am avidly reading through various books around the theme of nutrition for runners. See my previous blog on Finding Ultra,

Gradual Progress

I talk to my clients about the idea of gradual progress, but I don’t really get enough time to focus in this in depth during a workshop. I’ve noticed that we all vary in our understand of what gradual really means, so thought I’d write in a bit more detail than my previous blog on this

The Mindful Runner Part 3 – Non Judgement

I’ve just got back from a wonderful ‘Introduction to Mindfulness’ workshop lead by my good wife Becky, a trained mindfulness teacher. So I’m fresh and full of ideas for how mindfulness and Chi Running overlap (if indeed they differ at all.) In this series of three short articles on ‘The Mindful Runner’ I have already explored

The Mindful Runner Part 2 – in the present moment

What do we mean by mindful fitness? How about running with greater awareness, more mental presence and focus? In my last newsletter I wrote a piece on running mindfully ‘on purpose. ‘ Read the full text here on my blog. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn… “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in

London Marathon vs Fairfield Horseshoe Fell Race

From one of the best City Marathons in the world, to a classic Cumbrian fell race. I ran a totally contrasting challenge just 3 weeks after the London Marathon. You can read my blog on the London Marathon here. Fairfield was a totally different (and wonderful) experience. These photos testify to the amazing views. I really enjoyed

The Mindful Runner Part 1 – Running Mindfully and On Purpose

Chi Running and Walking are more than just a way of moving our bodies, more than a running technique. They are a way of practicing being present in each moment of our lives. Are you interested in finding more relaxed flow and focus in your running? Do you want to explore ways to mentally and

My London Marathon advice and tips

I absolutely loved the whole experience of training for and running the London Marathon. I normally run and compete on hilly trails and fells, so this was a bit of a departure. I found myself really enjoying my training sessions because running on the flat is so easy compared with running off road and on

MORE FIRE – How to Run the Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser – Book Review

These are my thoughts on this inspiring book from my perspective as I train for a marathon next April, as well as with my Chi Running hat on. I mentioned I was reading this book recently whilst on a training run with my club, Holmfirth Harriers. I was immediately asked what advice the book had

What does mindfulness mean to you?

When I was out running the other day, a friend asked me how Chi Running helps to focus your mind. I explained how I think I use my mind as much, if not more than by body when I am running. My intention is to stay in the present moment, using my mind to listen

The spiritual side of exercise

Is technique important in running? Is the mental side of things important? Are the mental and physical parts of ourselves interlinked? Most people would answer yes to all these questions, but few have explored the combination of the two, or indeed the link between exercise and the spiritual side of their life. From long distance

Peanut butter ideas for runners

Make sure your peanut butter has one ingredient. Peanuts. Give the jar a good stir and smell the goodness, then slap it on to wholemeal toast. This is a really great product, and one which would make a great addition to any runner’s kitchen cupboard. As part of the diet of an athlete, runners are

High Peak 40 Mile Challenge 2014 – a Chi Runner’s review

Phew! I just completed my first Ultra Marathon. Why did I enter? When I took up Chi Running a few years ago, I had made a decision to run regularly and be determined about becoming injury free – hence Chi Running. Chi Running was developed by Danny Dreyer, an ultra runner from the U.S. and together with

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll – Book review

I got a few comments on my last blog about diet and exercise – thanks folks. It’s interesting that diet, and the question of whether to change what we eat, is a topic very close to our hearts. I did make an assumption our diet isn’t perfect in my last blog on this subject. I

How is diet relevant to exercise?

To get the discussion started, I got in touch with Gina Battye, who I met recently whilst she was juicing oranges for my children! Gina is the founder of the worldwide Health and Happiness Movement, best-selling author of ‘How to Beat the Biscuit Tin Blues’ and international inspirational speaker. She looks at it his way in

Gradual Progress … a personal reflection

This progressed to 10 minutes of flat walking. Then I moved on to10 minutes of walking on a hill. All this was done at a slow-medium pace. Why am I saying all this? Because 8 weeks later I’m walking for 30 mins, with a 5-10 minute run in gear 1 in the middle of it

Relaxed and Enjoy …. Britain’s most brutal race!

We’d have never dreamt it would one day become a race. As we cheered on the runners and took photos, what struck me was how relaxed and happy the lead runners were. These people are running 100 – 268 miles of wind, ice and snow (yes, it started in the snow this morning)… and they

Walk to Run

One of the beautiful things about Chi Running is that you can practise the focusses in every day life, and indeed whilst walking. I have taken the last few weeks to focus on elements of my running form whilst walking. After all, if you can’t do something walking, you’re not going to be able to

Chi Running Instructor Training

Each instructor had their own interests that complemented their skills as an instructor as well as their own advice to bring. Personal training, Chinese medicine, Neurology, NLP, Tai Chi and Piano teaching (yes, that’s got a lot to do with posture!) were amongst the experiences shared as well as the Chi Running itself. This meant

De-Stress with Chi Running

If our thoughts, feelings and actions are locked in a response cycle, how about intervening in to this cycle at the level of actions? Making physical changes in the way we breathe, speak, stand etc. can have a big effect on how we feel Just try this: Stand slumped over and flop your arms down

How similar is Chi Running to minimalist running?

  The findings can be summarised as follow: Would be minimalist runners should be aware: There should be a focus on relaxing and focussing on posture. It’s easy to over lean. Avoid over striding. You will be lighter on your feet. This is not a panacea for all running injuries. The aim is not to

Where am I up to then?

  Further Consolidation Next I will be required to further study, practice of teaching, and follow on assessments. I will be required to submit extended video evidence of myself teaching chi running before I become a certified Chi Running instructor (I’ll also be setting up insurance and membership of professional bodies etc.) Qualification I will

Why on earth are you doing that? I could never do that…

  Whoever you are, whatever shape your body is and however you feel inside, I am sure that if you go out and exercise, there will always be people looking at you and wishing they could do what you are doing. For me, my horizons gradually shifted to further and further distances and longer and

What is Chi Running?

based approaches similar to those used in Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Mindfulness meditation Uses your bodies energy centres to allow flow when you are running. The position of the pelvis and subsequent use of core muscles all come in to play here. Emphasises that good running form should come before a focus on speed

Understanding energy flow – a personal perspective

levels of Adventure. In one such level of adventure, one experiences a sense of mastery and ‘flow’ where the energy in your body is at harmony with the energy around you / of the universe / whatever you want to call it! In discussion, Colin very much links this with the yoga understanding of energy

Technique… technique…. technique….

and finding that point where you are no longer relaxed but starting to strain. Personally I have found the idea of body sensing in Chi Running very helpful indeed. I have a list of bits to work on throughout my training. I also notice for certain (this is very clear on video analysis) that my

Running with the Kenyans – What’s the secret? What are your thoughts?

  Having read the book I think that there are undoubtedly some training habits that the Kenyans have, for example so many people devote their whole life to running in Kenya, there is a huge amount that is about motivation and learnt cultural attitudes. Many of the Kenyan people have their lives and

Running Ritual

It’s really important to make those patterns positive imprints. That ritual come easily become a sacred part of your life: time for you, a time to take care of your body and your health, a time when your mind focuses on the moment, an how you feel, and on what you need. When I put

Relaxed Chi Walking on Rails… snow rails!

This week I tried a Chi Walking session along this icy road. The tracks in the road acted as a nice prompt. I use the right hand track as a guide to remind me and help me visualise the type of alignment I was aiming for. Sometimes I walked right along the tyre track itself with

Playing around and thinking about focus

long race or run I would forget what I was doing and start thinking about my working week, for example. But I feel like I’m let off the hook a bit now. Danny Dreyer, founder of Chi Running and Chi Walking says in the ‘Chi Walking’ book that your mind will always wander. The skill

Moving more Intentionally

  Now I been Chi Running for a while I must say that one benefit is that I am now increasingly more able to focus my attention on my movements and be more intentional with my running form. I think that one of the things that Chi Running means for me is moving more intentionally

Mindfulness in the snow

  I’m certainly going to experiment with using path junctions and natural features to guide my mental focus rather than an electronic beep. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Instructor training here I come

  I have been passionate about walking all my life, climbing the mountains and walking long distance trails throughout the UK as well as some trips to Europe. I have also enjoyed running, but always used to feel that I wasn’t achieving my potential as a runner. Chi Running has been part of

Chi Walking by Danny and Katherine Dreyer – thoughts on Chapter 1

couldn’t stop moving! Speaking of the benefits of walking, I also made a lifelong friend on the Pennine Way which is another way that marks it out for me in my memory. So it’s the passion for walking that comes across to me from this chapter. I guess I really have also loved walking for

Chi walk run

  The book looks brief, but don’t be fooled. It’s absolutely packed with condensed lists of pointers, tips, and of course training ideas. I would strongly suggest reading the chapters from the Chi Running and Chi Walking books that are cross referenced if you can do this. I view this book as a really helpful

Chi Running Testimonial

if it can work for this guy, it can work for you? I do think he must be very ‘body aware,’ and have had a very good understanding of running for everything to click in to place so easily for him. Excellent!    

And so it begins

  Posture feedback…. From someone at work. I was told I have good posture yesterday. That’s a real sign for me that Chi Running is impacting on my whole life. I do work on the Chi Running focusses all day every day… But before I started Chi Running I must say I think my posture

Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry – a review from a Chi Running perspective

Jay Dicharry has impressive credentials, and all his writing is well referenced. It’s a good job, because there are certain aspects of debate which are controversial (barefoot running etc.) These are tackled in an intelligent, well argued way that refuses to move in one direction unless science can take us there. There are a good

Focus your eyes.

    Still think eye contact and mental focus isn’t important when you are running? Have a go…. your mind will always become focussed on your goal. Please discuss!

Mindfulness Based Improvement in Running

although it has been attributed to (the great) Abraham Maslow (You can read more about it on Wikipedia.) When you learn to drive a car, you are at first having to think about every single action. Gear changes, checking mirrors. As you master the basics, they sink in and you carry out these actions without

Me and My Shadow

But watching my shadow was actually quite helpful. Interestingly, even though the primary focus of my running was almost entirely about form, my speed and split times were actually quite decent for the terrain. I’m beginning to find more and more that Chi running is benefitting me considerably. It might be years worth of work,

Finding the balance

  I love the idea that less is more. You do need to exercise but you need to snuggle in to the middle of the curve…. massive distances aren’t needed…I love the description of what he says (about 16mins 30 seconds in to the video) about stopping to do some yoga whilst on a walk

I’m not a runner

not a walker. I’m a human being. The exercise we all take exists in the context of our whole lives, and it is essential to find a decent balance amongst competing priorities. The balance we need to find will be different at different times. What’s great about Chi Running and Walking is that I am

Why don’t we think about the way we run?

is MORE important than speed and power. What’s the point in running 50 miles a week for a month if we have a problematic running style that causes us injury? My niggly injuries all start to rear their head when my weekly mileage creeps over about 25-30 miles in a week. If it’s more like

Why Chi Running?

on a weekly basis. The knee pain returned. I was only running about 10 to 20 miles a week. This time there was absolutely no way that I was going to stop running on order to fix the problem, so I started some physio therapy. I also started reading about running, more specifically how to

Book Review: Born to Run (Christopher McDoughall)

explore the question of ‘did we really evolve to run long distances?’ There is also a very revealing discussion on the modern trainer. I personally had never heard that debate before, and it was very well explained with practical examples in the book. If you want to try a radical alternative there is so much

Book Review: ‘Running High’ by Hugh Symonds

a few maps etc which you munro baggers out there will no doubt pour over to figure out your opinion on Hugh’s route choice over the mountains. Some of his distances each day were really quite eye watering, bearing in mind he needed to meet up with his wife and family who following him round

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