I really like Chi Running principles, I think that form really does matter in running and if someone is constantly injured, it helps to address where there may be some inconsistencies/flaws. My first introduction to the Chi Running world came from reading the book. After that I signed up for a day-long workshop with a certified instructor. Seeing the focuses in person and having someone help guide me was a huge help. I’ve always wanted the chance to do a workshop with Danny Dreyer, Chi Running founder.
This may be the closest I get… the official Chi Running app! (iOS only) The start-up screen looks very simple… it’s misleading, there is a lot to this app!
Before looking at the guided run feature, let’s look at the Chi Lessons. With one tap, you are given the option to learn Chi Lessons, the Body Looseners in the program, or Post-Run Stretches. Each section has a lot of further content to explore. The Chi Lessons menu has 18 video lessons to help you learn the program fundamentals.
The Chi Running program recommends the use of certain body looseners to get your body primed and ready for motion. The app will walk you through all of the looseners from the book series with videos right in the app.
The same feature is available for the post-run stretching: videos that are short and concise to help you fully understand what you should be doing with that particular stretch.
Moving into the Guided Run… my first couple times playing with this I was completely unaware of just how customizable it is. From the main Guided Run menu, it looks like you can just turn a few options on/off and then start your run. The app tracks your run via GPS and talks to you with periodic reminders to help keep your form in check.
But swiping to the right from the home screen gives you the option to access the settings, and this is where the app reveals just how powerful it is. You can customize nearly every section of the app. Instead of just turning Chi Focuses on, you can specify how often you want to receive these reminders during the course of your run. Every 1, 2, 3, 5, 10 or 15 minutes… it’s up to you. But you can also choose which of the focuses you want to hear. Example: you know that your posture tends to slack after a while. You can turn on one or all of the posture reminders and turn off the other focuses so it’s tailored to your needs.
Part of the Chi Running program encourages work on your cadence and they recommend a metronome to help keep that cadence at 90 or 180 (depending on whether you like the metronome to play for every footfall, or every other footfall.) The app has a built-in metronome for that reason. You can set the tone, tempo, volume… whatever makes it work best for you during your run. Perhaps the default tone doesn’t work for you with the music you usually listen to. Switch it up! Or maybe you just want the metronome sound very faint in the background while you run, you can control that too!
Just like the other areas, you can choose which of the post-run stretches the app will lead you through at the conclusion of the run. You’re kind of building your own custom cool-down program. Remember, you always have the option of turning the whole section on/off when you start a Guided Run, depending on what you have time for.
I’m really impressed with how much thought and planning went into the app. Is it worth the $9.99 the app is retailing for? At first I thought it wasn’t. But after really digging into it I discovered that it has a TON of useful information and considering the price of a book… the app is almost a steal at that price!