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“I’m sorry, but your running days are over.” Those unforgettable words echoed in my mind like a relentless drumbeat, each syllable a dagger to my heart. “Your. Running. Days. Are. OVER.” 😭💔

It was a harsh reality check, one I brought upon myself. I had been running since I was 16 years old, inspired by my stepdad when he ran his bucket-list marathon. I loved running with him and followed his lead on everything. We were hardcore runners. No matter the circumstances, lace up and go run. 

I ignored the warning ⚠ signs—those persistent aches and pains—and pushed my body beyond its limits. The result? A hip stress fracture followed by a partial hamstring tear, sidelining me from my beloved pastime for two long years. My injuries, the doc said, were the result of overtraining and ignoring red flags 🚩 like pain, swelling, bruising, etc. with the help of ibuprofen which only masked the symptoms.

So, no running. No solace. It was a dark period, until a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of a book and DVD —on ChiRunning—handed to me by my stepsister, an unlikely (non-running) hero who believed it might offer me some relief. Little did I know, it would become my lifeline.

But what exactly is ChiRunning? Pronounced "CHEE – running," it's a fusion of Tai Chi and, well, running.  It’s a technique based on a set of principles that blends the relaxation of Tai Chi with the power and energy of running.

As I began reading, I was amazed at the amount of detailed information covered. Rather than be overwhelmed, I focused my mind on something the author and co-founder of ChiRunningDanny Dreyer, mentioned on the very first page –

"Run Like a Child. It’s such a natural movement when kids do it. It looks effortless and joyful.” 

And for me, that remains the sole purpose of ChiRunning – to run with effortless joy (injury-free) for the rest of my life.

I credit the principles of ChiRunning for my return to running without any pain. I learned proper alignment of my posture while paying attention to how my feet landed during a walk (ChiWalking) and then a run. It was as close to a miracle as I had ever experienced!  

But a lot more was going on than just alignment and focusing on foot strike.  In the simplest terms, ChiRunning, as the origin of its name suggests, breaks down into two components:

The Physical (Running technique) and The Mental (Chi skills):

The Physical

So, getting back to me going from zero running to suddenly running every day:  It was a progression: First ChiWalking, incorporating as many of the ChiRunning principles as possible, and when I felt ready to run, I followed these steps:

  • I let gravity take over.
  • I would fall forward with relaxed control.
  • My front foot striking the pavement underneath me.
  • My rear foot swinging out behind me to counterbalance the force of the oncoming road.

I was ChiRunning, and it felt wonderful! 🎉

After years of moving and running NOT like a kid, running naturally felt unnatural. For this reason, viewing ChiRunning as a practice is key. It takes time to unlearn bad or lazy habits. Undeterred, I repeated the process every day, determined to enjoy the process. Within 8 weeks, I was ChiRunning my entire session.

Shortly after that, I entered races again and even started logging PRs! It was at this point (~ 2012) that I met the amazing Flyer Ed Altman 6 miles out from the finish line of the Brooklyn Half Marathon. We finished together and I joined the NY Flyers not long after that.  

To be clear, the goal of ChiRunning is not to run faster (although you may run faster incorporating ChiRunning techniques), rather it’s to run injury-free for lifeChiRunning allowed me to ditch a grim future without running and seize one that included running a lot of races of varying lengths—even marathons and half marathons. 🙏🏼

For those of us who've been sidelined by injury, ChiRunning offers a path to recovery and prevention. By addressing the root causes of common running injuries—things like overstriding, poor posture, and muscle imbalances—ChiRunning helps you build a stronger, more resilient body. ChiRunning is not a quick fix, but with patience and practice, it can help you get back on your feet and stay there for good. This is where the Mental aspect comes in to play. 

The Mental

Running doesn't have to be a constant struggle. It's not just about how fast or how far you can go; it's about running with ease and efficiency. By incorporating Tai Chi principles like

  • Relaxation
  • Deep Focus
  • Breathing properly as you run

You are inevitably conserving energy and minimizing impact, making your runs more enjoyable and sustainable over the long haul. For me, this made running a meditation-like experience, a moment of quiet reflection in an otherwise chaotic world. I’m often asked what I think about during long training runs and marathons. I guess I’m thinking about running?  

ChiRunning isn't just about pounding the pavement; it's about finding harmony between body and mind. It's about tuning into your body's signals, understanding its mechanics, and moving with grace and efficiency. Unlike traditional running methods that focus solely on physical exertion, ChiRunning encourages mindfulness and alignment, which helps to prevent injuries and prolong your time on the road.

In conclusion, ChiRunning isn't just a running technique; it's a way of life. It's about finding joy and freedom in movement, and embracing the journey, wherever it may take you.

As I lace up my shoes and head out for another run, I'm grateful for the lessons ChiRunning has taught me—the importance of listening to my body, running with ease, and staying connected to myself and the world around me. And I'm reminded that my running days are far from over; they're just getting started.

-Marie Svet

Blog Managers' Note  Fun Fact!  Marie owns and operates Tiny Kitchen Baker, baking specialty cakes that are beyond extraordinary!! 🎂  

This Blog Manager, Dave Kleckner, should know -- she baked a spectacular cake for my wife's recent birthday. It was a magnificent, creative, delicious, artistic masterpiece 😍

These are comments from some of our guests: “That friend of yours is a freakin genius” “I’m in awe” “The attention to detail is unbelievable” “It feels wrong to cut into it” “I wish I’d known for my wedding cake” "She should receive a McArthur genius grant" The world needs to know about her work!"

And here are links to view Marie's work on Social Media: 

IG: svetstagram   IG: tiny_kitchen_baker  FB: Marie.Svet.7

Website coming soon at: