Final Surge Podcast Episode 76: Danny Dreyer

In Episode 76 of the Final Surge Podcast we welcome ChiRunning founder Danny Dreyer. Danny explains what ChiRunning is all about and how the technique helps you run with less effort and reduces your chance of injury. We discuss some specifics of running posture and the concept of running with a forward fall, and we discuss the new ChiRunning training plans offered on Final Surge.

Welcome to Episode 76 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome ChiRunning founder Danny Dreyer. Danny is a competitive ultra runner who found a better way to move when he started doing Tai Chi. Danny wrote the book ChiRunning which is hugely successful and we talk about his journey into ChiRunning. Final Surge has started offering ChiRunning Plans and you can check them out under our training plans section at

Listen to the podcast on iTunes or listen to it on Stitcher or Google Play if you have an Android device.

Stream it right here:

How did you get started in running?

  • Grew Up in Boulder and started in 1971
  • Decided to do an ultra, trained over 3 years
  • Ran man ultra races
  • Moved to San Fran started learning Tai Chi

What was it you learned about Tai Chi that you decided this could help with running?

  • Moved with body around central axis
  • Arms and legs got in sync with each other
  • Watched those who passed during races and they had relaxed forward leans
  • Move from center

If you were speaking to everyday runners what the biggest difference is between what they are doing and ChiRunning, what would it be?

  • You lose structure/posture and muscles work harder
  • Be smart, forward fall

You started off the answer talking about posture, paint a picture for us, what is good posture?

  • Stand up aligned tall
  • Shoulders over pelvis and pelvis over ankles

Many specialists say power should come from your glutes, do you think what an everyday runner does is different than elite runners?

  • Should not be using glutes or legs for power
  • Use gravity
  • Western runners are too upright and reach and pull
  • Kenyans have a forward fall
  • Use glutes only proportionately
  • Uses every muscle in body in proportion to size
  • Look at running injuries, most are from knee down
  • Need to use core more

There are three phases of the stance you talk about, can you explain those?

  • Propulsion is where body ahead of feet falling forward
  • Just pick up feet to keep up with body
  • Mid-stride is the flight phase where you leave the ground
  • Landing phase is the biggest deal
  • Don't want to reach leg out as impact is coming
  • Injuries are usually too much impact or overuse
  • When land foot under knee or behind it
  • Tai Chi relies on opponent to defeat themselves

Do you make wholesale changes all at once or is it in phases?

  • Every focus will help, but you learn them one at a time
  • Need to practice a lot, technique drills

The original book came out in 2004, how has the program changed since then?

  • Has exploded to the point where we have over 200 instructors
  • More aware of the program

One thing you talk about is race-specific training. What is race-specific training in terms of ChiRunning?

  • Need to learn how a course will have an impact on you and train to the course
  • Find out what is on the course, where it is on the course and train to the course
  • Have practiced the course so you know what it feels like and how you need to change your strategy

This week we started offering your training plans on Final Surge, can you tell us what to expect in those?

  • Everything divided into phases
  • Technique early
  • Move into conditioning phase
  • Learn how to fuel on long runs
  • 5k, 10k, Half and Full Marathon

The Final Surge... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Gordon Pirie Run Fast and Injury Free
Current trainers you are wearing? - Altra Lone Peak
Favorite race? - Headlands 50k
Favorite meal or recovery drink? - Cocoa Tropic
Your favorite workout - Hill Intervals on trails

Chi Running Training Plans
Chi Running Website


Team Final Surge

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