Converting to chi running before the london marathon


I have had a lot of problems with IT band syndrome whlst training for the london marathon which is in late april (about 5 weeks from now). I have only managed one 10 mile run as my longest run, but am still aiming to make it up to about 13 miles before race day. I was set to do an eight mile run today but had to stop at 4.5 due to pain in the IT bands.

I have just discovered the principles of chi running – front foot striking, tall posture, pilates breathing etc. I tried this technique in a run – it seemed to aleviate pain in the IT bands for a while but made my calf muscle fairly achey and stiff.

Is it dangerous to try and adopt this style of running with only 5 weeks of training left until the marathon?


  • Yes. Defer until next year. 13 miles isn't long enough for an enjoyable day.
  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭
    James I don't think it will make much difference what you do I'm afraid...from what you've written I think you will be walking a lot of the course because unless you are a one in a million athlete there is no way you are going to be able to run it all.

    By all means try to improve your form and posture, it will certainly help, and I have a friend whose running has been transformed by Chi, but in strictly Vlm terms, time is running out.
  • Thanks for the comments. I am desperate to do it this year as I may not be in the country next year but I do understand that it will be really hard with only 13 miles under my belt. Very frustrating... 

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Changing from heel to forefoot striking takes months rather than weeks.

    As suggested better to defer and have a proper go at it next yr.
  • You could always do a foreign marathon if you are abroad next year.

    The reality of limping round London watching others run away from you probably isn't the best memory to have from London. I'd do it fit or not at all. It looks very lonely at the back.
  • StiltsStilts ✭✭✭
    If your calf muscles are aching you're not doing it right - your lower leg should be completely relaxed. But yes prob too late to make vlm at this stage unfortunately
  • if you are definitely going to do it thgis year then delay changing tio chi running till after the race.then you can run/ walk it.........if you try changing now and build up this quickly then the odds are definitely stacked for you to get injured and not take part...

  • kaffeegkaffeeg ✭✭✭
    James, I understand how you feel. It's gutting being injured when you have your whole heart set on a certain race. I was in a similar position last year, had several weeks out of training due to injury. My longest run was 17 miles. Once. It took me nearly 6 hours to complete VLM. I was hoping for 4 hours 30 originally. It hurt. I would never do it again under trained.

    If you are going to do the race(which it sounds as though you are still injured, so if you keep training you could make it worse and not make the start line anyway....) forget any end time. Forget running the whole thing. Start the race with a run/walk strategy.

    Good might need it my friend!
  • If you are still determined to run I suggest you see a sports physio. the exact same thing happened to my IT band 5 weeks out from Brighton marathon last year, could only run a mile pain free. Saw a physio who did his thing and I was able to run, granted I had already done most of the training but if your going to run anyway its worth a try. Good luck

  • The phrase 'rearranging deckchairs on the titanic' springs to mind.

    If you're going to run London, figure out how best you can manage it on your current level of training by setting a very conservative target or run/walking it. Introducing something new this close isn't a good idea, and it's certainly not going to make up for a lack of fitness.

  • I have waved goodbye to the idea of a good time tbh, just wanna get to the finish line if I do decide to do the race. I'm getting a strong feeling that a complete conversion to chi running would not be advised in the time frame, but surely there are elements of the technique that would be good to take on board? Things like the posture etc?
  • You might keep posture for the first few miles - but by mile 18 its all out of the window.
  • yer majyer maj ✭✭✭

    James - in terms of timescales I agree with what everybody else has said - defer, or if you really can't bear the thought of doing that then work out a realistic run/walk plan that will get you round without breaking you. 

    However, I have, over the past few months, adopted some of the Chi running techniques and they have made a big difference.  BUT it has taken months, not weeks to embed the changes and I'm still not there yet.

    Get yourself a copy of Chi Marathon by Danny Dreyer - it's a bit tree huggy in style for my tastes but it very clearly teaches you how to get your posture right, which is the biggest thing.  It takes lots of practice in front of the mirror and a LOT of correcting when you're running but for me it has been worth it.

    It's worth a go, but realistically it's going to help your next marathon, not this one.

    Good luck image

  • Again, thanks for all the comments – very helpful indeed.

    I am seeing a pyhsio this weekend and in the mean time I'm religously doing ice baths and core strength building, including quad strength building (every night). I'm also subsistuting the runs for walks for now and continuing with a super healthy diet. Will see how it goes in the next couple of weeks before making a definite decision. 

  • Chi running. Sham more like.
  • Ooooh. Fighting talk. (Rubs hands in glee)

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