More speed, less pain

A new approach to running, using the principles of the Alexander technique, is claimed to hugely reduce the risk of injury.

I am trotting around Bedford Square in central London like a pony in the ring, steered by a hand on the back of my neck and another on my lower back. The potential for feeling foolish is high, but what I actually feel is a great sense of joy. I've been running for 18 years but it has never felt this easy and, well, bouncy.

"Think of running over the ground, rather than into it," says the owner of the guiding hands. He is Malcolm Balk, an Alexander technique teacher and running coach who has created a new approach to running.

Twenty-five years ago, Balk was a promising marathon runner, but he was plagued by injury. He stumbled across the Alexander technique when learning to play the cello and eventually trained to teach it. He soon noticed that he was running not only injury-free but faster, too. This prompted him to develop "the art of running" which combined the two.

In the same way that the Alexander technique isn't a precisely defined group of exercises, Balk's take on running isn't rigid. He aims to increase our awareness of what we're doing when we're pounding the pavements so that running becomes an ongoing process of exploration rather than simply a means of getting fit or reaching the finish line. "It's important to pay attention to your 'kinaesthetic conscience' - to what's going on within your body," he says. This attention is what allows us to become aware of faulty movement patterns, bad posture, muscular tension and tightness. In Alexandrian terms, identifying these habits of misuse is the first step to eliminating them.

Source - Guardian

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