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Filtering by Tag: #alexandertechnique

RED January - Day 22 - Nearly there

Claire Coveney

January is seeming sooo....looooonng...

Another run.

Today a very short run as my son is off school sick so my plans have had to change. And I'm so pleased it was only a short run as my legs feel heavy and tired.

Some days are like this. Not every run is fantastic and sometimes it's not enjoyable.

Accepting this and still running is what is great.


And to keep me going for the last few days here is a link to my Just Giving page if you want to sponsor me.

RED January - Day 21 - Euwch!!

Claire Coveney

So I've missed a few days of blogs but I've still been out there running every day (or swapping for a HIIT session for the odd day). But here is today's!


When the view from your window looks like this and you know that its also going to be cold!

Not appealing is it!!

The first 5 mins the wet rain soaks through my leggings. I feel cold, rain in my face, but I'm out.

Then as my body warms up the rain doesn't feel so cold its just there and I begin to enjoy this feeling. I hit a puddle and feel the wet coming through my shoes. My first reaction is "euwch!" but I stop and become interested in this sensation on my feet. It's wet, cool, my socks feel soggy but it's actually not unpleasant at all.

In fact I begin to feel like a toddler jumping in the puddles. No fear of getting wet and cold as he hasn't experienced that before, he is just interested in the new sensations. The sound of the splashing of the water, the feeling of the water through clothing and shoes, the change in temperature on his skin, the way the water moves as he jumps. It's a new experience something exciting to explore. 

As adults we spend so much time avoiding getting wet as we have learnt that getting wet can be unpleasant. Sitting in damp clothing, feeling cold, drips of cold water down the back of the neck! Definitely "euwch!". But if we can experience it like a toddler how would that be?

For me invigorating and refreshing. But then I make sure I can jump straight in a hot shower when I return.



RED January - Day 13 - A change of scene

Claire Coveney

It was a long day of tax returns today with a promise to myself of a run at the end. When it got to that time however it was dark and I really didn't fancy going out. After running every day for 12 days my body was craving something different. So I listened.

So instead of going out I stayed in and did a HIIT session instead. It felt good to be moving my body in a different way, working muscles that don't get used so much in running and some that do.

I love running but running is generally coordinated through a certain range of movements and I believe it is good to move in different ways. So I enjoyed just that and felt stronger for it.

RED January - Day 12 - I Have Time

Claire Coveney

Now the thing with running every day is fitting it in. There is always plenty of other things to do in a day take the kids to school, work, pick the kids up from school, make dinner, the list could continue.. and fitting in a run takes time.

Todays run was one of those days when there was a lot of other stuff to do. So after dropping the kids to school I set off busily thinking "I don't have time".

The thing is that its not just a thought, my body responds to this thought and in my case (and from experience I know that pretty much everyone else), I respond with unnecessary tension.

Now there is a very simple thing I can do when I notice this thought. I tell myself "I have time". After all in this situation I have chosen to go for a run when I could have simply chosen not to go, so I just as well be doing the thing that I am choosing to do. And this new thought gives me a sense of release and freedom. Allowing me to move more easily and run well. Allowing me to be more present with this thing I have chosen to do right now.

Try it and let me know what you discover.

RED January - Day 9 - Ankles

Claire Coveney

Ankle flexibility is vital in running. When I talk about ankles and the joints of the ankles I mean both at the leg-foot joint and also within the foot joints below the leg-foot joint. You can look this up if you want to know more about the anatomy and physiology. These are not anatomical terms but I hope make sense for this description.

This joint needs to move in running not only in the front to back plane but also in other directions as we negotiate bumps, lumps and stones which you will know only too well if you run off road.

The movement at the ankle also gives important feedback to the brain to allow us to rebalance.

If you stand and allow yourself to sway slowly to one side and then the other you will notice that your head will tend to move in the opposite direction to bring you on balance. You can choose to override this of course and let the whole body including the head move to one side but you will notice you need more muscular effort to do this. Try it.

So if we are held at the ankle joint we are not allowing the freedom of movement that is needed to run.

So check in with you ankles to see if they are free to move as you run as I did today.

Ankles don't move in isolation so more on this to follow. If you are interested you can sign up to receive my newsletter for more info.


RED January - Day 6&7

Claire Coveney

While I have been keeping up with the running I'm still catching up with the writing. Something had to give to fit everything in.

Yesterday I got up bright and early to run as I was heading to Oxford to attend a workshop. It was based on The Alexander Technique and Contact Improvisation dance so I knew I would get plenty of moving in, but getting outdoors feels an important part of RED January for me. The fresh (ish. I live in the city), air and daylight are so easy to miss out on in the winter months.

It was just getting light and really cold. The cold air hit my face with a sensation of sting but invigoration. I felt more alert from the sensation but also a retreating into myself as if to somehow maintain my body temperature.

While I know that my body will respond to the cold physiologically. I also know that extra tightening doesn't help this process to work. ie. tense shoulders don't help in keeping us warm even if many of us do it! Slowing down of our nervous systems, vasoconstriction (blood moves away from the extremeties to ensure our vital organs temperatures are maintained) and shivering all do. Our bodies will do their job, we don't need to interfere.

So letting go and trusting that my body would warm up off I went. And how worthwhile it was. The moon was beautiful, the sky a crisp blue and the frost adding a sprinkling of white sparkle to the world.

Something to remember next time I try to persuade myself out of an early morning run.



RED January - Day 4 - Forward and Up

Claire Coveney

Today I got out for a slightly longer run. I had been sitting most of the day so really wanted to move.

Knowing that I had been sitting most of the day I ensured that I warmed up well. I usually do this indoors, I am a wimp in the cold, so that when I go out of the door I can be ready to run.

Recently I have been to see an osteopath, as for many years I have been aware that my pelvis has been twisted. It has never been a problem and using The Alexander Technique has meant that I am able to look after myself well within that. However a while ago I pulled a hamstring and it wasn't getting better so off I went to get some help. And it has certainly untied the twist in my pelvis which is great. However, as it was a longstanding twist it's now taking a while for my body to work in a different way, and for me to be aware so that I don't put the problem back in place again.

So on my run today I was aware of a little niggle at the back of my leg. It was getting better as I warmed up more so I continued. I continued allowing my pelvis to move forward in space so it was connected to my head and my feet and not allowing myself to "break" in the middle which is very common in runners and I can tend to do. 

I then had a thought about gravity and remembered how my whole body can have a kind of spring-like quality to it so that gravity isn't pulling me down into the ground but is allowing me to spring seemingly effortlessly forward and up into my run.

This was great as I suddenly realised that in my attempts to "look after" my injury I had been instead using extra effort to somehow protect it. And instead of protecting it I had in fact been interfering with my running and was therefore not helping my injury at all by pulling myself down into my pelvis.

Suddenly my run became more effortless and enjoyable. The niggle was still there but less so and I could feel that I was working in a more coordinated way. So much better.

RED January - Day 2 - Enjoying Short and Slow

Claire Coveney

Today was always going to be a short slow run. With no childcare I took my daughter with me on her bike and ran alongside. So short slow and with lots of stops.

I think it’s great to practice running at different speeds. I find running slower than my habitual speed really means I can focus on my form. Running faster than my usual speed challenges me to find ease in the speed. I would encourage you to try both.

Today on my slow run I was able to really recognise my pattern to let my pelvis twist as I land on my left leg. A pattern I have been aware of for some time but somehow became clearer when I slowed down. And as I was going slower it seemed easier to let the necessary changes happen through my whole body so that this happened less. 

As its still a strong habitual pattern in me I wasn't able to change it every time. My old twisted pattern still crept in, but a small step in a different direction. Of course I might find that I need to change direction many times and this may not be the "right" direction but the discovery is what keeps running interesting and alive for me.

RED January - Day 1 - New Years Day

Claire Coveney

My first run of Run Every Day January.

I like running but I don't usually go out every day and particularly in the winter months I can make excuses for myself, it's too cold, I'm a bit tired, maybe I'm getting a cold?.. It seems so much easier to curl up and hibernate.

Yet I know that moving is an amazing thing, particularly if its outdoors and even more so if it is done in a mindful way. I know that if I get out there I will feel so much better for it. The ultimate demonstration of mind body connection. But like most of us I might sometimes need a little persuasion. So that is why I signed up for RED January as a little challenge for myself. To write about my running as part of the process seems a useful way to share how I use the skills that I have learnt through applying The Alexander Technique to my running. Maybe you will find them useful too.

If you are interested you can sign up to receive my newsletter for more info.

So Day 1 after a late night, not enough sleep and an extra glass of something fizzy I went out. Would I have usually? Maybe yes, maybe no! Do I feel better for it? Absolutely. I hope that other Redders will feel better too.