Alexander Technique Education UK




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Running Workshop, with Malcolm Balk 5 May 2015

12 Jun 2015 2:21 PM | Anonymous

On 5th May a group of running enthusiasts and a number of less enthusiastic participants (!), attended this running workshop based on Alexander Technique principles. By the end of the day, I think it’s fair to say we were all more pumped about running than we started out!

Malcolm’s easy style and simple explanations made for a relaxed learning environment where everyone was enjoying having a go.

Malcolm lead us outside to a wide lawn area where we did some easy warm-ups.

After these typical warm ups, we did a series of exercises to prepare us for a more efficient running style.

First, we did bouncing up and down on the spot trying to connect with the elastic nature of muscles, rather than pushing with great effort to go up - a real feeling of economy of movement.

Then, still staying on the spot, and allowing both feet to the ground, first 3 times on right foot, 3 times on left foot. Then 2 times on right foot, 2 times on left foot, and finally once on right foot, once on left foot. Hey presto - now we only needed the forward momentum! Malcolm showed us how to just lean very slightly forward from the ankles and imagine the heel coming up under the thigh. Off we went. Running suddenly seemed much easier!

He used a long band around the runner’s hips to demonstrate how to lean into the run from the ankles. We then did this in pairs, with one partner keeping a strong grip of the band and then running a few steps with you. Then the partner lets go of the band and off you go!

We experimented with starting off running by leaning slightly forward from the ankle but then when you have reached your desired running speed, straightening up.

Malcolm paid attention to arms, saying they needed to be drawn back in order for them to spring forward each time.

He got us to swing the arm in straight position so you could feel the pendulum was the shoulder joint. Then he explained why the arm needed to be bent at 45 degrees to shorten the lever.

Malcolm uses Alexander’s Primary Directions over and over while he runs. We tried it and again, great advice, it did seem to help keep the directions going while running with more freedom.

Neck to be free, Head forward and up, Back to lengthen, Back to widen, Knees to go forward and away! Boot camp was complete!!

The round up at the end of the day, using before and after video footage of each runner, is a classic Malcolm technique and really helps each runner make sense of  his/her individual changes over the course of the day – and gives everyone inspiration to see how much can be achieved.

Having done 4 of these over the years, I am amazed at how much I learn each time. I can really recommend this running workshop to all – especially if you don’t like running – you may find you actually really enjoy it once it becomes so much easier!

Jane Gregory

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