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December 2021 Instructor of the Month: Jose Luis Sanchez

Jose Luis Sanchez, ChiRunning and ChiWalking Certified Instructor, after completing race

Tell us a little about you. Where you live, what your background is. What (if) you do in addition to being a Certified Instructor.

My name is Jose Luis Sanchez and I am Colombian, I live in Bogota and I am 40 years old. I am an industrial designer, carpenter, baker and coach of a wonderful team of runners in Bogota. I love camping and hiking in the mountains, I love flowers, eating and drinking coffee.

How did you start running? 

I did start running in 2013 after I had a rough time. It was a life-changing process that took me from not wanting to live to the point of wanting to help others. I met a beautiful girl and she taught me the basics of running and gave me my first 5k program from a running app. After my first 5k, I felt amazing and I wanted to go for more. Then we signed up for a 10k. 

Other 10k races came and then she convinced me to join a team of runners who were beginning to prepare for the 2015 Bogota Half Marathon, so I did. Then more half marathons came and I began to think about a full marathon… I did that too.

When and how did ChiRunning come into your life? (The short story)

I was enjoying running but found that after my workouts I ended up aching and had to take muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs, I had to go several times to the orthopedist to have my pain checked.

I got bored with these training/pain routines, I wanted a change in my life because, despite enjoying running, I was demotivated by feeling that I was losing what I was gaining every time a new injury appeared and I had to stop.

I started researching different forms of training on the internet because I knew that there had to be a more efficient and less painful way to achieve the goal. I have surgery of the anterior cruciate ligament and menisci in both knees, which made it even more complicated.

I finally found some videos and articles that talked about ChiRunning and the benefits that it brings to the people who practiced it, it sounded just like what I was looking for in my life, injury prevention and efficiency.

In those days I was starting to run my running club so I thought it was a very good idea to do more research about it to be able to share this new technique with my students and at the same time improve my technique and make it easier.

I entered the ChiRunning website and found that they had seminars, books and a lot of information available so I took some time researching, I found that there was a certification course for instructors that was coming up so I decided to enroll without thinking twice. That really changed my life.

In what ways has Chi changed your perception of and success in running?

ChiRunning has shown me a way to run with less effort and feeling like I can do it for long periods of time and for greater distances, being more efficient and consuming my energy much more intelligently.

The sensation of feeling that my body is floating slightly while my legs are relaxed and not even breath flows without much effort is unmatched

What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?

For me as a Colombian, Latino, it has always been difficult to follow instructions such as manuals and specific instructions. I have found some difficulties in the way of expressing the ideas of ChiRunning to the students because I feel that they perceive the instructions in a similar way to how I do.

So I have used different examples and other ways to make them understand the dynamics of the technique, based strictly on the exercises and teachings given by Danny.

What motivates you to run?

I am motivated by how my body feels after each run, how my mind and body work as a single unit and take me to places that I had never imagined going.

In addition, I am motivated by the fact of being able to inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals and find in this wonderful sport and technique the way to connect mind and body and be happy.

What achievements are you most proud of?

3 New York City Marathons and counting.

What led you to become an instructor?

I decided to become an instructor to be able to teach others in the way of training that led me to be able to run without pain and be aware of my body by being able to build presence.

Why do you enjoy being an instructor, and how has it affected your life?  

I really enjoy being a coach because it helps me to see in others the things that can be improved not only in them but also in myself. I consider my students to be my teachers all the time.

My life has changed wonderfully since I became a coach, I feel that helping others change their life for the better makes mine change exponentially.

What does your average week look like, run-wise?

I run between 3 and 4 times a week depending on the goal I have for different races and sporting events.

I train with the running club on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

I bake bread on Tuesdays and Fridays at my bakery.

I transport myself by bicycle wherever I go.

I carry a lot of wood in my carpentry which helps me stay active and strong.

What other forms of exercise do you practice to compliment ChiRunning?

I ride a bike every day as a means of transportation and also on Saturdays I try to use the simulator at home.

I practice mindfulness meditations and some Tai Chi, twice a week I do some HIIT.

Advice for people new to ChiRunning?

ChiRunning is a game-changer, what are you waiting for?

Short answer! Okay, GO.

Most memorable race: 12/12. Well, it’s not a race, it’s more like a 12-hour training on a 12km really hilly trail loop overnight.

Ideal weather for running: At night, with a lot of rain, with a lot of mud, cold and hopefully with many hills.

Focus that currently dominates your running: Y-Chi and Arm swing

Favorite place to run: At 3200 m.a.s.l.

Go-to before race food: Avocado, kale, pineapple and banana smoothie with oats on top and of course a big pot of coffee

Celebratory food after a race: Tamales

Upcoming race/goal: my body and my mind are trying to put the idea to start looking for long distances … 50k in January and then we will see.

Run with or without phone/music: I never listen to music when I run, I feel that it distracts me too much and takes me out of my focus and my cadence, I think the best music for me when I run is the sound of my feet bouncing on the floor and the sound of my breathing.

Fill in the blank.

If I didn’t… run in the morning, then I run in the afternoon

I can’t run without… socks

My first race was… Bogotá Nike 10k and I was really happy

My current favorite shoe to run in is… HOKA Speed goat 4

My most difficult run ever was… a 21k trail race when I got lost and end up doing 36k

I’ve run… I´ve run 7 road marathons and 1 trail marathon

The longest distance I’ve run…. 48k Ubaté, Colombia

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