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runNatural.co.uk aims to become the place to find out everything that's happening in the world of natural running in the UK.
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Interview with Certified ChiRunning Instructor Michelle Muldoon
By Peter Papadopoulos
Q1. What is ChiRunning?
Chi Running is a holistic approach to running, teaching energy efficiency and injury prevention. Based on T’ai Chi principles, alignment and relaxation are at the heart of it. Energy efficiency and injury prevention can only happen to the extent that you can get your posture into good alignment.
It’s a step by step approach, the form focuses and exercises help the runner to ‘feel what it feels like’. These focuses applied mindfully and consistently over time will help runners to avoid common running injuries. Re-wiring your body does not happen overnight, it’s a gradual process. It takes practice, patience and persistence. From beginner to experienced athlete, ChiRunning empowers individuals to develop a safe and effective lifelong fitness program.
Q2. Why did you decide to become a ChiRunning instructor?
Practising ChiRunning gave running back to me. As soon as my injuries started to disappear and I could see the many benefits ChiRunning had to offer, I decided I wanted to pass on that ‘gift’ to others.
Q3. What are your running achievements/credentials to date?
I did cross country running at school and some road running up to 10k in my early 20s. Then like a lot of people, life got in the way and I gave it up for a long time. I took it up again 10 years ago and very quickly got injured. Learning how to run became my goal. Since learning ChiRunning, I have been able to train consistently and run distances up to half marathon. I’m a distance runner at heart and like nothing more than heading out for my long Sunday run.
Q4. I am relatively new to running, I tend to start to build myself up to 5-6 miles then stop because of injury or illness what advice could you give me to help me keep going?
Learn ChiRunning! Good running form is paramount to being able to stay injury free. Gradual progress and listening to your body are key. Don’t push yourself beyond what your body is currently capable of. Build up slowly and only run for as long as you feel you can hold good form.
Q5. I find that some runners don't take criticism very well (myself included) even if it is constructive. Do you ever experience this in your teaching? And if so how do you deal with that?
I have not personally experienced this. My students have already taken on board that they need help with their running and accept they need to make changes if they want to improve.
Q6. At the moment barefoot running seems to be very prominent which is a complete contradiction on what most sports stores stand for, what is your opinion on this?
If I never had to wear another pair of shoes, I would be very happy! I would love it if we could all run barefoot but for most of us, it’s simply not practical. However, we can learn to run barefoot-like in shoes. The answer to running injuries generally lies in how the runner moves and not the shoes. There is a movement towards more minimalist footwear in general and shoes that allow the foot to do what it was designed to do; this is a good thing. Good running stores recognise this and will listen to what their customers want while still being able to assist them in making an informed choice.
Q7. ChiRunning is very popular in the US but you are one of only a few Certified ChiRunning Instructors in the UK, do you see it becoming more popular in the UK in the future?
I believe runners are simply not aware of ChiRunning or running technique in general. Running is probably the only sport that we do not take lessons in. Books like Christopher McDougall's Born to Run have raised awareness about the importance of good running technique. I have seen a huge surge of interest in ChiRunning in the last year and I would expect that to continue as runners begin to recognise the importance of moving well and the positive effect that good mechanics can have on running.
To find out more about Michelle and ChiRunning visit www.corerunning.co.uk
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The Original Luna uses a 6mm Vibram neoprene sole that is lightweight, comfortable, and has excellent ground feel. This sandal is great for running or walking on paved surfaces and moderate trails.