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How running became easy with The Alexander Technique

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How running became easy with The Alexander Technique

Claire Coveney

I have always been pretty active, I trained as a dancer, I've done lots of yoga, hill walking and cycling so generally considered myself pretty fit. Running however now that’s different I thought "I'm not a runner", "I can't run!". 

This was a while ago now, and it was true it was really difficult for me to run. I found myself out of breath really quickly, couldn't go very far without stopping to get my breath back and it was generally quite uncomfortable and not a lot of fun. So I thought that's it "I'm just not a runner" "I'm not designed to be a runner".

What I didn't think was that perhaps I could change the way I run. Perhaps the reason I can't breathe is because I am holding so much tension in my torso that I'm not allowing my ribs to move so that I can breathe. Maybe I'm squashing myself just enough so that I'm not letting my joints move as freely as they could, or I'm stiffening so much that I'm not letting the movements needed to run happen. Of course I didn't realise I was using all that extra effort I just decided I couldn't run. 

About half way through my training as an Alexander Technique teacher where I had let go of a lot of the effort I had been unknowingly holding on to, and had found new ways of being which weren't in tension I decided to go for a run. And amazingly it was ok, I could run and it felt alright. I could breathe, everything seemed to be moving feely, in fact I even quite enjoyed it.

I didn't need to get push harder, build up the right muscles or even learn techniques to run. What I needed was to unsquash myself, allow my ribs to move and use less tension through my whole self so that I could move and run freely.  

Now I am training for a half marathon. So I am running more frequently and even challenging myself to do some hill training and faster runs. All the time however I am thinking about the ease and freedom I need to run so that I can run in the most efficient way.

So maybe I can now say "I am a runner" and not only that a hopefully efficient injury free runner.