I've had four major influences on my philosophy and approach to running: high school, college, Chi Running, and Kripalu Yoga.
My high school coaches taught me the value of using a heart rate monitor as a bio feedback tool to make sure I wasn't working too hard for the results I was getting. I was also very fortunate to have had a coach that encouraged me to add a small amount of barefoot running after my easy runs on the soft grass inside the track.
In college I explored running by feel. Before races I would ask my coach about strategy and he would reply, "run how you feel, just don't go suicidal, don't go into oxygen debt in the first 200 meters." I had a tendency to over-think things, so the constant reminder to simply run by feel was extremely helpful to me. Core-stability workouts were also a huge part of my training. Developing balance, strength, mobility and power were key focuses for me in cross country and track. I'm very fortunate to have had coaches that encouraged this type of cross training.
During the final weeks of my junior year, I read the Chi Running book. I randomly picked it up in the book store and saw "run with your core muscles." I thought "I have pretty strong core muscles" - if I can learn to use them better, I'll run faster. As someone who was often dealing with mere seconds determining whether I would be satisfied or not, I was interested in anything legal that would get me get faster. I read the book, and not only did I get faster, I learned that I didn't need to rely on the outcome measured by time for happiness. This realization was huge. Combine that with how simply and beautifully Danny Dreyer boiled down the basic biomechanics of energy efficient running form and I was off to the races, so to speak.
Kripalu Yoga has taken me to an even greater understanding of the body. Kripalu Yoga is a non-dogmatic, inquiry based approach which helped enhance the "run by feel" strategy I developed in my early college years. Kripalu Yoga first focuses on the fundamental alignment and safety of a given pose. Once alignment, safety, and relaxation have been established, longer holdings and explorations of the subtleties of the pose can occur