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Claire Coveney

My recent runs have not come without discomfort. My ankles have been a little achy and my calf muscles a little tight. I'm running further and more regularly than I have ever run before so is it too much? Should I build up more strength? Get different shoes? Do some more stretching?...

But really I know that none of these things are the answer. I want to run and I know that I can run. I don't have a problem with my ankles or calves the rest of the time, so something that I am doing while I am running must be interfering with the best way I can run. So how can use this amazing tool, The Alexander Technique to work it all out.

So today my run was one of specific exploration. What am I doing?

I started off with no intention apart from to observe. I ran for 10 minutes or so not really noticing a lot apart from the familiar ache.

Then I changed my thinking to releasing my knees forward and allowing my feet to follow. Now there was a difference... but what was it? At first I wasn't quite sure but the ache was not there, interesting?? Then I worked it out, I wasn't pushing the ground. I was just allowing my feet to leave the floor and seemingly I wasn't getting slower. So it was both easier, no ache and not slower. Great I though lets play with this a little more.

So now my feet weren't pushing off the ground I was aware that I could allow my back foot to peel off the ground allowing all the lovely joints in my foot and ankle to move freely. Now this was interesting as I was using less effort but I seemed to be speeding up.

I never cease to be amazed by this technique, The Alexander Technique. Just the simple awareness and change in thinking could allow me to get rid of the aches but also an unexpected effect of an increase in speed. Surely what every runner wants.