Chi Running with Danny Dreyer

woman running alone in the mountains in the morning

What do you get when you cross running with tai chi? Chi Running, of course.

You’ve probably heard of Chi Running, as it has been helping runners (including Matt and me) for years. But unless you’ve really taken a dive into the philosophy, you might not know what it’s all about, and how simple changes to your form and technique can completely change the way you run.

In today’s episode, we chat with Danny Dreyer, founder of the Chi Running training philosophy, about how your running form, mind, and breath all play a role in your running performance.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The connection between tai chi and running.
  • Proper form techniques for injury-free running.
  • Why shoe choice matters.
  • Nose breathing when you run?
  • What it means to connect mind and body when running.

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On Tough Love and Unconditional Support

Silhouette of cyclist with friend motion on sunset background

Every major life change starts with some sort of trigger. Maybe it’s a visit to the doctor or an inability to squeeze into your favorite jeans. Or in the case of Susan Lacke, a conversation with her boss, Carlos.

A boss who became one of her best friends and biggest fans as she went from self-proclaimed couch potato to Ironman and now ultramarathon finisher.

Several years ago, Susan was the original contributor to No Meat Athlete (other than Matt, of course), and through dozens of posts she chronicled not just her fitness journey, but also that epic friendship with the late Carlos Nunez. This week Susan released her new book, Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, a tribute to the life-changing support we can give one another.

We’ve asked her to share an example of that support. An example we can all learn from.

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To call Carlos Nunez my “cheerleader” makes me laugh out loud. Case in point: When I proudly finished my first 5K race, I texted him. His response to my finishing time: “45 minutes?! What did you do, skip?”

There was also the time I crashed my bike—it was my first time riding in shoes that clipped to the pedals, and I didn’t quite time the release of my feet correctly. I went down in the gravel, still attached to my bike, and Carlos laughed. (And laughed, and laughed…)

When Carlos, a multiple Ironman finisher, inspired me to sign up for my first Ironman despite never having done a triathlon (a journey I chronicled in the early years of No Meat Athlete), he told me it was the dumbest thing I had ever done. Even the title of my new book, Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, is a direct quote from something he huffed just before dropping me on a bike ride where I was dragging ass.

And yet I still maintain that for almost a decade, Carlos Nunez was my cheerleader. The captain of my squad, even.

When most people think of a cheerleader, they think of someone who waves their pom-poms and effuses positivity. Though there’s certainly a time and place for that, that’s not the only way to show your support for someone. The thing I’ve learned about cheerleaders is that it’s not the positivity that matters—it’s the underlying and unconditional belief.

You see, when Carlos gave me grief for my slow 5K, he didn’t do it to mock me, but to get me to sign up for another one. He knew me well enough to know that I’m a deeply competitive person. With the right provocation, I’d not only sign up for another race, I’d go faster just to prove him wrong.

Carlos laughed when I crashed my bike, yes, but that was because I had too much pride to ask him for help understanding my newfangled shoes. After he stopped laughing, he cleaned the gravel out of my scraped knee and let me know that he wouldn’t offer advice when he saw me doing dumb things, but he would always give it if asked. As entertaining as it was when I failed, he wanted to see me succeed.

And he did want to see me succeed. So much, that he rode at my (much-slower-than-his) pace every Sunday morning so that he could coach me to my first 100-mile ride, my first mountain summit, and my first Ironman triathlon. He taught me how to pull a water bottle without stopping, how to change a bike tire, and how to pace myself during a 112-mile bike ride so I could follow it up with a 26.2-mile run.

He didn’t have to do any of those things, and yet he did them. He never once said anything resembling a “rah-rah,” and yet I knew he believed in me unconditionally, even on the days I didn’t believe in myself. If it weren’t for him, I would have quit endurance sports a long time ago.

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The Life-Changing Power of Someone Who Believes in You with Susan Lacke

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Have you ever taken a life-changing smoke break? NMA’s own Susan Lacke has, when her old boss, Carlos, convinced her to start working out with him.

Twenty months later, she was running her first Ironman triathlon, writing for NMA, and launching a new career. And it was Carlos’s never-wavering support that she believes made it all possible.

In today’s episode, we speak with Susan about that epic friendship, her new book, Life’s Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, and the power of supporting someone through their goals.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The power of denial (in sport and life)
  • Picking yourself
  • From coach-potato to Ironman finisher
  • How one cigarette break changed Susan’s life
  • The major difference between triathlons and ultramarathons

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

Join the Tribe and support No Meat Athlete Radio.

If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

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