Anyone who knows me, knows that I do my research. As I have now become a "runner," I have read every magazine and article that I could find to make me a better and healthier runner. As with everything I do, I take what I like, adapt it for what I need and discard the rest. My newest discovery was Chirunning by Danny Dreyer. This book may have changed how I run forever. Dreyer takes elements of running and Tai Chi and tries to meld them into a simple to understand formula for runners. His method promises faster speeds, longer distances and injury-free runs. As I have said before, I used to consider myself a sprinter, and my running form reflected that mindset. I had a long, knees-high stride that demanded heavy street-pounding foot-strikes. My form and my over-training quickly led to a bad case of weak ankles and shin splints from the damage that my legs were taking. In Chirunning, I run more with my core, using less of my calves to move me. Instead my feet now naturally flow behind me instead of in front of me requiring less effort to move along. On the spiritual side, I will focus my chi/energy from my gut and visualize it in front of my body, pulling me along so I don't have to force my pace. I know this all sounds like some mumbo-jumbo flailing about, but it's the exact opposite. The form is fairly tight, but relaxed, allowing the body to move along with out too much pounding. Unfortunately for me, I still have a heavy footstrike which tends to leave my ankles a bit sore. I noticed while I ran today that I tended to keep my toes pulled back or otherwise tight as I ran, resulting in poor form and tightness in my feet and calves at times. My speed seems on track if not a little slow, but I have not gone too hard as to avoid injuries. My shin splints are almost non-existent now, so I hope to make a decent showing at my next couple of races. I don't know if I will be as fast as I was before, but as long as I stay right around 8:30 mins/mile, I won't be too sad. I'm even thinking of sneaking in a long run before work tomorrow, but the weather is supposed to be crappy. I guess we'll just have to see, but it's good to be running confidently again.