While Chi Running and Run for Life are different in many respects, they have the same goal—making running a safe and effective lifelong program for health, fitness, and well-being. Chi Running stresses the importance of the mind-body connection and using proper body alignment while running.
Avoiding a heel-strike foot landing is the other common thread I've noticed. Some experts support a flat foot strike while others endorse a midfoot or forefoot strike. Basically, heel striking is like hitting the brakes with every stride. This tends to jar your body out of alignment as well as causing deceleration which you have to overcome by pushing harder with every toe off. This extra effort eats away time and expends needless energy. Landing with a flat foot, mid foot, or fore foot greatly shortens the amount of time your foot is on the ground which helps you move forward more quickly.
Shoe companies are even noticing this trend as shown by some of their newest releases. Karhu's new Fulcrum Technology claims that it minimizes the time the heel is on the ground. Newton and Vibram Five Fingers also have shoes designed to promote a midfoot or forefoot strike. Even the more mainstream running shoe company, New Balance, has developed the New Balance 800 shoe which promotes a midfoot strike. Check out the clip below from New Balance about the shoe.
Roy Wallack stresses in his book, Run for Life, that you really don't need a special shoe to learn how to do a midfoot or forefoot strike, but he says that barefoot running or using a shoe like the Vibram Five Fingers helps to more quickly achieve a midfoot or forefoot strike.
So, bottom line, pay more attention to your running form. No matter which strike you're using, being more conscious of your running form will help you better evaluate your running needs so you can make the changes you see fit.
To order your own copy of Run for Life and/or Chi Running, see the "My Picks" carousel under the Runner's Market on the right side of the blog.