Imagine you are a rabbit. Day after day, as you peacefully munch the lush Scottish grass on Blackford Hill, your meal is interrupted by the dreaded crunching sound of a runner’s feet on the trail nearby. You freeze, hoping not to be seen. In a panic, you try to decide whether you’d make it to the nearest patch of whinn if you dashed at top speed. Palpitating, stress hormones flooding your system, you waver in indecision. And then the runner is gone.
It could have been a dog, a hunter, some other mortal threat. You might have run but not been fast enough. When animals run, it’s not just for fun.
After years of guilt over the trauma my running has inflicted on the helpless rabbits of Blackford Hill I’ve decided to do something for them. I realized that, though they depend on running to save their lives, they do so without the benefit of running form instruction, and that’s where we can help. So it’s with great excitement that I’m launching our new series to help animals run better with this first installment, “Better Bunnyrunning.”
Due to the difficulty of bringing recorded lessons to wild rabbits, I’ve created this version for houserabbits and their human companions. Perhaps doing this lesson with your rabbit will help you more deeply empathize and bond with your cherished pet. And if you’re not lucky enough to have a rabbit for a housepet (as we are not), even doing the lesson by yourself should help you connect with your inner rabbit, tapping into that deep evolutionary connection we share with quadrupeds and accessing the power of your haunches for the next time you want to bound uphill in a workout.
To accommodate the short attention spans of rabbits, the lesson is under 10 minutes in length. Click here to stream or download it and please share it with your friends, both long-eared and otherwise.
I welcome your feedback!
Many thanks to Elaine Gruenke for inspiration and graphic design, and to Sammy the Bunny for donating his time and effort to the project.
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Jae Gruenke, GCFP, is a running technique expert and Feldenkrais Practitioner. Known as a “running form guru,” she is the Founder and CEO of The Balanced Runner™ in New York City and The Balanced Runner UK. She has helped runners from beginner to Olympian improve their form to become pain-free, economical, and fast.