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Running Roulette

With the high injury rate among runners it might appear as though many are playing a game of chance like Roulette with their mobility; and with even worse odds. A potential cause may be actually running by “chance”; or put another way … just running and “hoping for the best”. But if someone is getting injured over and over, that might be the same as this popular definition:

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” – Albert Einstein

The other option is to consider how you are running, pay attention to what your body is telling you and making adjustments by practicing principles (i.e ChiRunning principles), developing skills and forming new habits. Doing so can improve your “odds” of running injury-free. This process not only applies to your running technique but also to your running program.

Running Roulette is one game of chance, but let’s consider another popular board game called Chutes and Ladders.


The essence of this game is not only played by runners; but everyone in their daily lives. On the Chute and Ladders game board, you have:

  • Numbered Path: Going by the “numbers”. Roll the dice and usually hope for a big number thinking that is best. But big numbers allow you to skip steps you might need later, or increase your risk of landing on a chute.
  • Chutes: These are the setbacks, the aches/pains, the injuries, the procedures, the surgeries, the illnesses, the mental distress, … this is the “re-hab” path.
  • Ladders: These are the principles learned, the skills developed, the habits formed … this is the “pre-hab” path.

[See a recent post Fitness Program Pre-hab for more on this concept.]

On the running (and life) game board just before a chute there is usually a clear warning signal. If you listen to it and make an change from your toolbox, then you get to hop on that ladder and avoid the chute. Or you might even pause if that is your change. The adjustment comes from a past experience, quality advice or sound principles. If you are not paying attention or don’t know what to change, you risk finding yourself on the chute.

Here is the best part: your game board is constantly changing if you are changing. With each new skill or habit you develop more ladders and increase your ability to reach a higher level. But here is the catch: No matter where you are on the board, there will always be many chutes ready to teach or remind you of a lesson. So:

“Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.” – Jim Rohn

No matter where you are, wish for more ladders …

In ChiRunning and ChiWalking the approach is to make gradual progress through form first, then distance, … and then speed. In that order the foundation exists to reach and enjoy higher and higher levels of fitness and health with limited risk. Going by the numbers will probably only get you so far, and likely with a good deal of frustration. But being a student of your own “how” can accelerate what is possible for you.

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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 Me, Contact page or his website at http://www.eChiFitness.com.

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

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Posted on Wednesday, Apr. 20th 2011 6:50 AM | by echifitness | in All, ChiRunning, ChiWalking, Fitness | 2 Comments »

2 Comments on “Running Roulette”

  1. Melissa Says:

    “No matter where you are, wish for more ladders.” I love this! I was a “hoping for the best” runner. I’m proud that today I can claim, even if I’m not running longer, I’m running SMARTER. Thanks for contributing to this in such a huge way!

  2. echifitness Says:

    Thanks Melissa. Happy to hear you are enjoying the benefits of your choices.

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