A Chat with Our Chi Running Gurus

By: Andrea

Each month, we're lucky to have Laura Houston and Beth Cline come to the store and lead a mini Chi Running clinic and run. They are also supportive of our training programs and often lead clinics for our various training programs. The first time I heard them present, Beth was asked how you should hold your hands while running. She said that you should think about holding a butterfly or potato chip. You don't want to hold it so tight that you crush it, but you also don't want to drop it. Ever since then, I'm constantly dreaming about potato chips when I run! I recently asked them a few questions about themselves, their clinics, and Chi Running in general.

Beth & Laura

How did you first learn about Chi Running?
Laura: I was getting ready fora marathon in 2005 and saw a link to Chi Running on a friend's website (she's a Total Immersion Swimming instructor). I followed it and the rest is history!
Beth: I first heard about Chi Running from a friend.  She was working on the technique and studying to become an instructor.  I was one of her “practice” clients, and I couldn’t stop practicing!

Was there a defining moment when you knew you would be forever hooked on Chi Running?
Laura: At the end of that marathon (in which I focused on my core (low abs and pelvic stability) especially when I got tired around mile 16), not only had I qualified for Boston marathon, but my feet didn't hurt! I didn't notice that until my friends started complaining about their feet. As Danny Dreyer says - it should feel like 'nothing'!
For me, it just made sense.  I had been running for years, and pushing through knee pain.  Once I learned the technique, it stopped and I haven't had a side-lining injury since (knock on wood!).

How do you describe Chi Running to someone who's never heard about it before?
Laura: Chi Running uses central movement principles from tai chi and combines them with running and walking, shifting the workload to your core muscles, which gives your legs a 'rest'. Not only does this help increase your endurance, but it helps alleviate pain and injuries common to most runners. Sometimes it takes one little thing to make a huge difference!
It's a method of running that teaches you to relax, and not use your legs.  To drive movement from your core, and make use of gravity.

What can someone expect to experience if they come to one of your mini-clinics at Fleet Feet?
Laura: They'll get a basic intro into getting aligned in their body and taking that into movement (running, walking). They'll also learn some cool little tricks to make their running and walking feel better!
Beth: Anyone that comes to a refresher run will have a knowledge of the principles of chi running, the basics of posture and a few take aways specific to their own form - all in the vein of being a more efficient runner.

Anything they should do in advance to be able to get the most out of the mini-clinic?
Laura: No, but they might want to check out chirunning.com to get an idea and some background, as well as our own websites (feeltherun.com and bethcline.com).
Beth: Nothing!  Simply show up, and be ready to learn.

Who can attend the mini-clinic? Any pace/experience requirements?
Laura: Anyone can attend! No pace or experience needed!
Beth: Anyone can come - chi knowledge or not.  We're happy to check form for those that have experience as well as teach form to those that are new!

What is your favorite run in Seattle?
Laura: Discovery Park - especially just following random trails! I've been 'lost' before and I learn something new every time!
Beth: One of my favorite runs is a lap around lake union.  6 miles with views of the city and water, a few different neighborhoods and lots or people watching in between.


Check out our monthly Chi Running mini-clinics. They are free to attend and you can sign up right here!

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