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Running with Peaches

Claire Coveney

I am always interested to watch the quality of a runners arms. I find it can give so much away about a persons running but arms are so rarely considered an important part of running.

Two of the most common things I see are thumbs sticking up as if thumbing a ride.  This to me is an indication of tension right through the arms, shoulders and chest.

The other thing I see is abandoned arms that are just not really involved in the running and a bit too floppy. Try running with your arms by your sides and you will see how tricky this can be.

Arms need to be part of the whole movement of running. Not overly tense or held but freely moving as part of the whole coordinated movement of running.

So whats with the peaches?

Well next time you are running begin by just noticing whats happening in your arms. Are they tense and held tight to your torso? Are they not really part of your running, just floppy and not really involved.

Then just imagine you have 4 soft juicy peaches, one under each armpit and one in each hand. You are going to need to allow some space between your torso and upper arm so that you have room for the peaches, maybe this allows you some more freedom at that upper arm joint.

And you don't want to squash them in your hands. So you need just enough tone so that you don't drop them but not so much they will squash. Don't worry too much about the position if you prefer your hands to be be more open that's fine, it's more about the idea.

And that's it that's all the tone you need.

No Pushing Required

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.



The Gym – Getting exercise and insight at the same time.

Claire Coveney

I have recently joined a gym. I used to think I didn’t really like going to a gym and it’s true I would rather be at a dance class but that’s not always possible and I enjoy getting some exercise. Well now I really enjoy it, I am getting exercise and learning a lot at the same time. 

Today I was using the chest press. I had this funny little twinge in my left elbow. Not a familiar twinge and nothing so uncomfortable that I thought I should stop, so I continued but came back to allowing my neck to be free so that my head could move gently upwards and allowed my jaw to release... and the twinge stopped… as if by magic.

So how come?

Well everything is so interconnected.  What I am doing with the coordination of my head and neck is so inextricably linked to my whole way of using myself. So of course that little bit of extra effort I used in my neck and jaw to lift the weight caused something to twinge in my elbow.

Lucky I have the amazing knowledge of The Alexander Technique.