Can you be taught to run like a Kenyan?

You might not be as fast but I think you can enjoy it as much and look almost as pretty!

I’m a true believer that you can learn to run properly. I’m a perfect case study.  Being fairly heavy and a former football guy, I relied on my muscles when I first started to run about 10 years ago. And it led to muscular fatigue and some injuries.

A recent article in the Globe and Mail illustrates the fact that it’s a recent phenomenon that people think they can learn to run properly and actually paying for courses. It’s funny since most people will pay hundreds or thousands even for golf lessons but they will just head out the door and expect to run like a Kenyan.

I might be biased since I make a living teaching people to run (among other things) but I’m a believer that I can make everyone a runner. I’ve seen it with my work with a local obesity clinic and countless clients.

The article quotes an injury prevention leader (and friend) Blaise Dubois on the best running stride to avoid injuries. The stuff sounds a lot like something called ChiRunning…

Another good point that is usually made is that to run more efficiently, you have to run more. I truly believe that and I will go as far as saying running more with the right shoes and the right technique. And Blaise ends with a great point, you must take your time when you change stuff in your life. Gradual progress (aka baby steps) will get you where you want to be the right way, maybe not the fastest way.

But it can be taught, look at me! I have a lot of people say that I’m a beautiful runner (I’m not sure about that), but one thing I will agree with, I’m fairly efficient!

About ecinc

I`m one of 13 certified ChiRunning instructors in Canada and I`ve taught the technique to over 300 people across Canada in the past two years. I`m also an NCCP-certified triathlon coach, a Lululemon Alumni Run Ambassador and an all-around nice guy…
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12 Responses to Can you be taught to run like a Kenyan?

  1. Mark says:

    Chi running is not reinforce by any elite/coach runners. No Kenyans uses that technique. If you want to be a fast runner, you have to run fast and hurt your body, intervals, speed work, tempo and running drills

    Maybe chi running is good for the average joe, like Tai chi but not to improve speed

    • ecinc says:

      Most elite athletes might not identify themselves as “ChiRunners” but they apply most of the major principles of the technique (high cadence, slight lean, good posture, relaxation, etc). In terms of technique, I think elite runners are much closer to the CR technique than the “average joe” (aka heel striker).
      I’m not saying that you will be as fast as a Kenyan if you take up CR but your technique will be much closer to theirs.


  2. Mark says:

    Ok name me one elite athlete, elite coach that goes by chi running. Let say ”Ok today I will have to do chirunning in my training” (As an elite)

    • ecinc says:

      I think you missed the point from my response yesterday. What I’m saying is that Kenyans might not do “ChiRunning” per say but their technique has all the same properties as the technique that I teach (CR).

  3. Mark says:

    I got your point. I want to know if there is elite coaches and elite runners do chi running in their regime. Your are not answering but rather avoiding a direct question.

    Do you know any coaches or elite runners that do chi running ?

    • ecinc says:


      I’m not trying to avoid the question. I’m saying that even if they don’t identify themselves as ChiRunners, they are basically doing it (aka good endurance running form=ChiRunning).

      And by the way, what is your definition of “elite”?


  4. Mark says:

    Do you know any coaches or elite runners that do chi running ?

    Elite runners or coaches that win races, full time job as a racer.

    Avoiding the question is answering it in a negative matter ”No coaches or elite runners are using chi running”

  5. Brendan says:

    Mark is just being a twit. Your answer is pretty clear.

    I have a real question: how do CR practitioners approach the whole barefoot or minimalist movement? I’m just curious.

    I’ve learned through experience that *for me* abandoning the clunky trainers and switching to flats or zero-drop shoes was a big part of the equation, but I still need some form work, and I’ve been looking at CR, among other possibilities for getting the rest of the way in honing the biomechanics above the shoes.

    Nice blog, btw. Very informative.

    • ecinc says:

      Thank you Brendan.

      I’m a big fan of the barefoot/minimalist movement. It’s been said that CR is barefoot running with shoes on.

      I find that people that are open to the barefoot stuff are big fans of CR so it’s a great fit. For the average person, if you run properly the choice of shoes make less of a difference.

      Let me know if you have any other questions,

  6. Mark says:

    running drills is your form of chi running. Running drills was inventend long ago by track runners and coaches. Chi running is a copy cat of those running drills. They just found a way to make money of something already invented. Take a look at the perfect runner doc from M Suzuki, they were running barefoot way before for races purposes also

    • Brendan says:

      Mark, I’m also an experienced runner, and I also see the overlap between chi and traditional calisthenics. Anyone who pokes around a little can find info on both approaches and decide for themselves what they’re interested in–and whether it’s worth paying for. To draw an analogy, look at all the people who pay for fitness trainers. Do they really *need* someone to tell them to do stuff you or I would consider common knowledge? No, not really. But consider this: if it gets them in shape in a way that otherwise might not have happened, then isn’t that a great thing?

      Not everyone has the self-confidence or understanding or desire to be a do-it-yourselfer, so they turn to a Chi or Pose practitioner, a traditional coach, a kinesiologist, a physical therapist, etc. I’ve been a competitive runner for years, and if I hadn’t had traditional coaches to observe me (or athletic trainers to treat my mistakes) back when I was a student athlete, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Nothing Eric writes about is a lie or harmful to people.

      You’ve got your way, and I’ve got my way, but not everyone thinks like either of us. So relax!

      PS–I don’t make any money coaching or anything, but I’ve been around long enough to realize that people help themselves in different ways.

      • ecinc says:

        Well thank you to Mark and Brendan for the input.

        I agree with both points of view to be honest. I’m the first one to admit that the components of ChiRunning are not entirely new but it’s the package and how it’s taught that is worth it in my opinion.

        I’ve had a few discussions with track coaches that feel that ChiRunning is useless. It might be for them and their students since they already know how to run properly but like Brendan said, that is not the case for the average person.

        I don’t claim to be a magician but I have found ChiRunning has helped the majority, if not all, of my clients.

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