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most efficient fast walking technique
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rajesh kumar
(rajesh) - F

Locale: Portland
most efficient fast walking technique on 09/18/2005 18:33:33 MDT Print View

With days getting shorter now in fall in Oregon, I am starting to run out of daylight on long days (20-30 mile range). Last year, I used to walk/ trail run if pressed for time. This year I seem to have picked up some chronic sacro iliac joint injury (probably from snowboarding) that makes running quite painful even after several doctor visits. Walking or cycling don't seem to hurt at all.

So I looked at the net and there seem to be three choices till my injury heals: 1) racewalking 2) chi running 3) POSE running. I read the book on CHI running and I guess both runnign methods look similar. Racewalking is pretty straightforward.

So, for anyone who has thought about this problem of trying to walk moderately fast (say 4-6 mph), is it better to racewalk or go to one of these low impact running styles. For me, efficiency means 1) lower energy consumption per mile at that speed and 2) lower joint impact/ injury.

I am sure at high speeds (say > 8 mph), running will be more efficient and at slow speeds (<3 mph) normal walking is obviously more efficient. In the middle though maybe racewalking or these modified running styles may make sense

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: most efficient fast walking technique on 09/18/2005 18:56:46 MDT Print View

can't help you here with your choice on style. can, however, i can give a different perspective on how to handle the reduced daylight hours without having to change your style or do anything that might exacerbate your injury and increase healing time. my solution, to reduced daylight hours, for years has been to use a headlamp. keep your same pace & finish (or start) your hike in the dark.

Edited by pj on 09/19/2005 03:42:22 MDT.

Alex Orgren
(big_load) - F
Re: Re: most efficient fast walking technique on 09/18/2005 20:07:49 MDT Print View

I agree with Paul. I used to run a bit on the trail, but a few close calls convinced me it was too risky (especially solo in zero-traffic areas). I'm not much for night hiking, either, but I know of quite a few people who do it regularly. Despite my general aversion to rising early, I prefer to get a pre-dawn start and can still usually wear myself out before dark.

jacob thompson
(nihilist37) - F
efficienct walking on 09/18/2005 20:29:02 MDT Print View

I have been using the chirunning technique for the past 3 months. When I've been doing it for 6 I'm going to put up a little write up about it on this site. As for increasing your milage all three of the above solutions are worthwhile. Start really early, hike a little at night, and use a slow run. I've just lost the source of this information but I was under the impression that running was more efiicient when faster than about 5mph, and walking more efficient when under 5mph.

As for the chirunning, My running has improved 1000 fold by using this style. Previously I couldn't even run a mile. Now less than 4 months later I can run about 15 miles in a reasonable time and not even be tired at the end. I run 6-7 miles every other day and am never tired when I'm finished. I have no injuries or pain from running. I have only used it once on trail. I had a 20 mile run over some really undulating coastline and finished in under 6 hrs. I'm also a barefooter and this style has been very conducive to running long distances with bare feet. I believe next April Danny will be releasing his new book on chiwalking which I'm sure would be of benefit to any hiker. He is also running seminars now on chiwalking if you are in the area.

thats just my $0.02

Edited by nihilist37 on 09/18/2005 20:37:03 MDT.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: most efficient fast walking technique on 09/18/2005 22:00:16 MDT Print View

I'd agree with the approximate "walk < 5mph < run" split. Both techniques have their place, sort of depends on if I'm out fastpacking or out hiking. And that relates to the equipment I brought, especially the pack. Some of my packs just don't lend themselves to a good running stride, others are perfect. If I have poles, too, I'll tend to walk more.

I find that a fast walk is easier on the body, but it takes a lot more mental focus to keep a consistent pace. It's just not in my "movement vocabulary" from growing up, so I have to think about it more and it takes a while longer to get a rhythm.

In the end, I usually like to mix it up, often choosing to run the downhills and the flats, walking the ups at a quick pace. If I need the break, I'll revert to a fastwalk on the flats. It can be hard to recover at a higher heart rate, but training can help with that.

Also, for what it's worth, I find it easier for me to wake up earlier than walk later. If a normal long day is 6am-9pm, I'd rather wake at 4-5am than push it to 10-11pm.

Edited by mlarson on 09/18/2005 22:02:26 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: most efficient fast walking technique on 09/19/2005 04:44:17 MDT Print View

I'm a little skeptical of these running "techniques". Basically, I'd say there are only really two ways of running... heal strike or toe strike. 99% of people probably run with a heal strike. Toe strike absorbs a lot more shock... but is probably hard on your calfs after awhile. Worth experimenting with though. Overall though, if you have SI problems, my recommendation would be simply to not run... regardless of the technique you use. Let your body heal.

p.s. most serious distance runners think POSE is a load of BS. Haven't heard of chi running but it sounds interesting. I imagine however that it's little more than toe running. BTW... I think most of the Kenyans use a toe strike style... and they also kind of lean forward a bit when they run.

Adam McFarren
(amcfarre) - F
headlamp vs handheld on 09/19/2005 07:27:57 MDT Print View

I'd recommend carrying a handheld flashlight if you're mostly going for distance. My long day hikes lately have started 45-60 minutes before sunrise and I've been using the Gerber LX3.0 flashlight. It's the brighest LED I've ever seen, much brighter than the BD Zenix.

Also, using the handheld flashlight gives better definition to the terrain than a headlamp. Your pace will still slow a bit in the dark, but the brightest light possible will help keep you on trails and making wrong turns in the night.

My technique is similar to a racewalk style, with a 3.5-4 mph pace.

Just finished reading a book on Bob Marshall, and his technique was to run all the downhills on his 30-50 mile days.


rajesh kumar
(rajesh) - F

Locale: Portland
racewalk on 09/19/2005 13:19:28 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone. I do carry a headlamp( princeton tech EOS) but offtrail/ ridges can still be a problem. I tried the racewalk technique today morning for the first time at local 400 m track (not hiking) before work. Averaged 5mph without hurting my hip and can see going to 6 or 7 mph with some work on technique. So this seems good enough for the speeds I need and lot less impact compared to running. Required a lot more focus though compared to running (my body wanted to start running at 5-6 mph and I had to focus to walk rather than run at these speeds).

After my injury heals (hopefully soon), I do plan to look at this Chi running thing. It looks interesting adn I agree with the comment that it looks like forward leaning/ midfoot strike so probably not new but just new to me.

Robert Mak
(blmac) - F
difference between pose and chi on 09/15/2007 03:10:53 MDT Print View

The difference between pose and chi running is that pose uses a toe strike while chi uses a midfoot strike. Using the pose style on long distances will likely overload that muscle. They both advocate a lean posture. So chi advocates a third style, the midfoot strike, which is a strike from the front of the heel and no toe push off. In theory avoiding several problems such as, calf/shin muscle fatigue/pain, propulsion braking and joint shock from from heel strikes.

Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
Fix the original problem. on 09/16/2007 18:19:40 MDT Print View

Get the I/S sorted out.

Also perhaps try some hip flexor lengthening. If nothing else this will increase your stride length - and help with walking speed.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Different hiking styles... on 09/25/2007 07:49:10 MDT Print View

I want to start long-distance, unsupported treks - and my big focus here would be distance. Does anyone know of a good place to find a lot of info on efficient hiking/walking/running techniques?

chris Mcfarland

Locale: baba yaga's porch
chi running on 09/30/2007 12:59:56 MDT Print View

This thread got me to thinking about my running form and why I gave up running. After a short while I get pain in my hip and hamstring from running of any kind so maybe I’m just running wrong? I definitely use a heal strike and toe push while running. Looking around I found this interview:

it seems to set the goals of chi running as well as a few of the finer points.

Ryan Krause

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Yoga is your friend on 10/04/2007 23:05:44 MDT Print View

As far as your injuries, I'd give yoga a shot. I used to suffer severely from knee pain and physical therapy was more or less useless and a waste of my time and money. After getting nowhere with PT for 4-5 months and in chronic pain, I gave yoga a shot and recovered completely in a month. You have to keep it up otherwise it'll come back but it worked wonders for me. A couple of other folks that goto the same yoga place I do are snowboarders and found yoga to help them out a lot keep injury free and take care of old injuries.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Chi Running and Tai Qi Quan on 10/05/2007 00:36:14 MDT Print View

I attended a Chi Running class and it was really useful. Robert is right about the methods, it's not at all a toe strike/POSE style. And I don't believe the Kenyan runners are toe first but rather, they run with a short, fast step and a lean. I think the toe first concept is totally misleading. And I've found that a long stride with heel first strikes and toe push only increases stress and injury. Basically, catching your weight and focusing and localizing the stress into the extended leg. Whereas a short stride, mid-foot strike and lift allows stress to be absorbed across your frame. This is achieved by maintaining weight distribution directly under your center of gravity. A possible analogy could be: do you carry your pack weight on an extended arm or hugged as close as possible to your center. The style enforces a short, quick stride of about 85-90 BPM, or beats per minute (right or left foot down). You speed up and slow down by adjusting lean, essentially catching your fall with each step and simply picking up your foot rather than pushing off the toe. It takes a lot of time to retrain your running style, but it gives you something to think about while logging miles.

The "Chi" reference is a reminder to focus on managing your gravity center, which is developed in the postures from Tai Qi Quan and other internal martial arts. I've practiced Tai Qi Quan for 8 years and attribute my knee strength and ankle flexibility to those hours of practice. It's saved me from a spill on many fast downhill trails. I highly recommend that and would throw in a Yoga class once a week. Check out the Chi Running but try and get into a class; it's difficult to grasp with just the book.

good luck,

Edited by uberkatzen on 10/05/2007 01:24:26 MDT.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
Yoga, pilates and running on 10/05/2007 11:06:35 MDT Print View

Just referring back to what Chris said about hip pain while running, I suspect this is a result of too tight muscles and weak internal hip rotators.

I had a similar problem. After training and completeing the portland marathon last year, I started to suffer from sciatica, which if you've never had the dubious pleasure of expierencing, totally sucks. Some mornings I felt almost crippled, and a lot older than my 34 years.

I was finishing my bachelors (finally) at the time and I spent a lot of time sitting at my desk in a hard wooden chair, which agravated my situation, but I was stretching regularly, and going to see my massage therapist on a regular basis, and it wasn't getting better

My wife is a pilates devotee, and she convinced me to try it. after 4 45 minute sessions, my sciatica went away, completely, like it was never there.

Rambling I know, but my point is that a lot of running problems are the result of a weakness that you may not be aware of, especially in your hips, which on most people (even fit peolpe) are tight and weak.

Sorry if this is thread drift, I'm just a big pilates advocate, so whenever someone mentions hip pain, well there I am with another long winded personal anecdote.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
running form on 10/05/2007 11:10:09 MDT Print View

oh, and I can't help but think that there have been a lot of very succesful competitive runners who have had "bad" running form.

I suspect that our bodies pretty much know how to run if we let them, and most of our problems from running result from physical weakenss or tightness in some part of our bodies, rather than improper form.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
RE: most efficient fast walking technique on 10/05/2007 12:32:57 MDT Print View

Josh, I totally agree with you about the weak core muscle groups, especially in the hip area, often being at the center of the pain. I'm currently having trouble with my left hip and pinched a nerve last Spring, freezing up my leg down to the knee. I started to believe this is due to weak but tight muscles. I actually feel better if I consistently exercise, like running.