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March 2020 Instructor of the Month: Ken Presutti

Ken Presutti ChiRunning & ChiWalking Certified Master Instructor

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

Hi, I’m Ken! A Coach and Trainer based in Pittsburgh, PA, with clients across the globe. I’m passionate about running, cycling, triathlon, and health. When I’m not coaching athletes, I’m coaching technology teams on being more agile with Scrum, Kanban, and a DevOps approach to building software. At home, I have an amazingly supportive wife, Kelly, an awesome little son named Jax, and a few dogs!

How did you start running?

I was never a great athlete as a kid, but one day I decided I needed to play a sport and jumped into soccer. I didn’t realize how much running I’d be doing. That lead to me joining the track team in the spring and taking up indoor cycling to condition for both. 

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

I met a lot of friends and eventual clients and training partners by working as a cycling instructor. That leads to more personal training and run coaching (the old fashion way… you know “oh, a marathon… okay go run this many miles this fast, this often”). I knew I had to help clients with form, and in exploring how to help them, discovered on ChiRunning.

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

ChiRunning has definitely helped me stay injury-free, and actually run the marathon portion of the Ironman! But, beyond just the mechanics, ChiRunning has helped me be more mindful in all things. 

What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning? 

That it’s for older runners, or those not worried about speed. The fastest runners in the world all share similar characteristics in their technique. ChiRunning is a great way to naturally find and enhance those characteristics in your own from. Get your from down, and the speed will come!

What motivates you to run? 

Working with other athletes, or those that don’t even consider themselves athletes, and watch them become the best version of themselves through sport.

What achievements are you most proud of? 

Both working with older athletes, helping them achieve their first-time Ironman finishes, injury-free, as well as working with younger athletes to realize their potential both on and off the track.

What led you to become an instructor?

I was already coaching runners and wanted to help them in every way possible. I heard about ChiRunning on a podcast, and immediately felt drawn to the program. I read the book in just over a day and signed up for instructor training a week later!

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

As an instructor and coach, I’m able to work with athletes at all skill levels. I love seeing first-time race finishes cross the line, watching high school kids finish in the top of their divisions at state championships, and helping others just get moving. I’m grateful that all my athletes can clients teach me just as many lessons as I teach them.

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

I usually get 2-3 personal runs in (that means going for speed). Then, I usually have another 5-10 hours I rack up running with clients, packing long runs, etc. Outside of that, I’m keeping focused on my bike and swim, as I spend a lot of time racing triathlon.

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

Definitely biking and swimming. When it’s possible, I try to make sure I’m strength training 2-3 days per week. Yoga is by far, my all-time favorite activity, I just never seem to find time to make it to the mat!

Advice for people new to Chi Running?

It’s a practice, and there’s a lot to learn. Take your time and enjoy the ride. Also, if you just take away the biomechanical aspect of the technique, you’ll be in great shape. That said, don’t underestimate the mindfulness that comes with it. Learn a little more about Chi, make one run a week a moving meditation, use ChiRunning to complement your life, not make it more stressful.

Short answer! Okay, GO. 

Favorite race you’ve run and why: Savageman Triathlon because it’s just brutal and you need a good technique to complete it.

Most memorable race: Ironman Lousiville because it was my first IM

Ideal weather for running: Hot, 90 and humid over 35 and snowing any day

Focus that currently dominates your running: Circular strides to the rear

Favorite place to run: Anywhere outdoors in the sun

Go-to before race food: Peanut Butter & Jelly

Celebratory food after: Ice-cream and Beer (not necessarily in that order)

Upcoming race/goal: Ironman Maryland for an IM PR

Run with or without phone/music: It all depends, usually with

Repeat on your playlist: Anything from the Killers, currently AWOL Nation “The Best” is also on heavy rotation.

If I didn’t run I  would swim and bike more!

I can’t run without a clear head! 

My first race was a 1 or 2 mile high school track event and I questioned if I really wanted to be a runner.

My current favorite shoe to run in is Altra Escalante 1.5 and 2. 

I’ve ran a lot marathons/races (honestly, I try not to keep count).

The longest distance I’ve ran is a 26.2 marathon in Pittsburgh and Disney World. The farthest self-powered distance though would be Ironman for a total of 140.6 miles (in Louisville, KY).

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