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T2 Transitioning, Bike to ChiRunning

The triathlon is a test of multiple disciplines and provides unique challenges in preparation and event day execution. The T2 transition from the bike to the run can be particularly challenging since the biking position and focus is generally very different from the run; very much so if you are using the ChiRunning approach.

Bike Position:

  • Chin is up. Throat is expanded.
  • Pelvis may be rolled forward or back.
  • Contracted position. Bent at the waist.
  • Muscles do most of the work.

ChiRunning Position:

  • Chin is neutral; back crown of the head is tall.
  • Pelvis is more neutral; level.
  • Aligned position with balanced effort front/back over the body’s structure.
  • Position and gravity does most of the work.

If you get off the bike and do not make a conscious shift in position you might start your run either expanded by overcompensating for the bike position <or> overly gathered by maintaining the bike position. An expanded position leads with the hips; you use your muscles to maintain position, you might “sink” a bit, and your lose your lean. An overly gathered position bends at the waist; again uses muscles to maintain position and makes your lean very inefficient. Both positions result in a lot of tension and therefore resistance. Note in both positions the chin is still up/forward.

A very simple focus can help you change both your position and focus in one step. As soon as you step off the bike, think “lengthen the back of my neck – and stay tall as if a balloon is pulling up on the back crown of my head”.

This will automatically adjust your body position and head/chin. At the same time, let your shoulders drop down as if you are trying to increase the distance between your ears and your shoulders. Then allow a little mental breeze from behind push the balloon slightly in front of you and just feel your One-Legged Posture Stance with each step. Repeat in your mind “let the balloon do the work”. See also this recent post on this visualization: Going Running or Being Run?

Note the running leg motion is similar to riding the bike with a focus on gently picking up only on the pedals; and the pedals are slightly behind you and not under you. Note again the running position is completely different from riding the bike.

This focus also works all day long. Sitting, at your desk or in your car, and whenever you stand up and move around throughout your day.


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David Stretanski is a holistic health, fitness and wellness coach – and Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor.  For more information on David, please see his About MeContact page or his website at

ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are registered trademarks of ChiLiving, Inc.

Posted on Monday, Apr. 11th 2011 5:56 AM | by echifitness | in All, ChiRunning | 4 Comments »

4 Comments on “T2 Transitioning, Bike to ChiRunning”

  1. Sue Says:

    This is perfect! I signed up for a beg mini sprint that will involve swim, bike and run and I surely need lots of help with all these events. I am very worried that after going up and down hills with the bikes for 9m, that trying to run 2m would be god awful – Now, after the 9m, I am sure my legs will feel like jello – how would one apply some chi running or even chi walking to complete the event? What should I be concentrating on?

  2. echifitness Says:

    Hi Sue,
    Thank you for your comment/question. Both ChiRunning and ChiWalking provide numerous focus points for your position and your motion. The objective is use your position more and your muscles less; so even if your legs are tired after the bike, your run/walk won’t be affected as much. There are many online and published resources that provide a more complete summary than I can here. See this video page for a good ChiRunning summary:

  3. Coach Steve Mackel Says:

    David, Once again awesome article. One other fantastic thing about coming out of T2 on a triathlon into ChiRunning® is having your running cadence between 170 – 180, which is typically the most favored cadence range on the bike for triathletes. If you have been pedaling at 90 RPMs then hit the road running at 180 SPM (steps per minute) your body maintains that rhythm.

    9 days ago I competed in the California 70.3 in Oceanside. Since it is in the middle of marathon season I did not train properly for this race. The one thing that kept me going was running at 180 SPM. Once my feet were moving I would focus on my posture. ChiRunning got me through that run without walking.

  4. echifitness Says:

    Thanks Steve. Great point on keeping the same familiar, efficient cadence from the bike to the run. Congrats on your recent 70.3.

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