Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning maintains that ChiRunning is a style that promotes a soft landing and a mid-foot strike with a forward lean. By using the ChiRunning principles, a runner can take advantage of the Earth’s natural gravitational pull as well as the runner individual natural center of mass for a running experience that is easier, faster and more efficient than ever before. Proper running form and posture that is surrounded by “relaxation” is the key in maintaining a sustainable and injury free running experience. This relates to one of the principle of T’ai Chi – “Needle in The Cotton”. Running distance and speed will fall in place naturally once one has mastered and has achieved a higher level of ChiRunning form and technique, running along with the pull of Gravity.
Both ChiRunning and FIRST place great emphasis on injury free training that limits runner burnout. However, while ChiRunning’s aim is making running a Holistic Practice, working in harmony with the Force of Nature (Gravity), thereby aiding in running better and healthier; The focus of FIRST’s marathon training program, on the other hand, is speed oriented. It promotes a 3 days per week run schedule in conjunction with cross-training workouts for the remainder of the week, this training program attempts to improve endurance and run time of the runner without focusing on a runner’s inner strength. FIRST offers detailed plans for marathon preparation with goal setting tips, recovery, rest, injury prevention and training and is more intense and rigorous in comparison to the Holistic Approach of ChiRunning.
While both programs are incredibly detailed and thorough, it seems that they may be designed for different kinds of running enthusiasts. A beginner, intermediate or advanced runners can appreciate the ChiRunning style that focuses on perfecting the art of biomechanics to build up their strength and stamina to achieve maximum fitness.
FIRST marathon training program is, on the other hand, a more intense workout regime designed to cater for runners for marathon races, by compacting and dialing up the intensity of the runner’s workouts, which includes cross-fit training sessions within the training.