Feldenkrais Running Technique Lesson to Relieve Achilles Tendon Pain

By Jae Gruenke | Feldenkrais

Jan 01

This blog has been nominated for Trespass‘s 2014 blog awards! Voting continues through January 5, so please take a moment to go vote. Many thanks!

Over the course of 2014, as I worked with my runner clients, taught workshops, gave talks, and listened to the running community, I heard over and over again that runners transitioning their form to a more forefoot strike and/or shifting into more  minimalist footwear are struggling with achilles tendon pain, metatarsal stress, and other forms of foot and calf pain. If you’re accustomed to wearing conventional trainers and heelstriking, your whole-body movement habits can make you vulnerable to these particular kinds of stress and pain when you try to change your footstrike and footwear.

So I’ve spent the past four months developing a Feldenkrais lesson for runners to help relieve this stress and remove the movement barriers to running comfortably and enjoyably with a slight forefoot/midfoot strike in zero drop, minimalist footwear or barefoot. I designed it to help you feel how to allow your hip flexors to lengthen appropriately for running, coordinate that with the movement of your pelvis, and connect it upwards to your shoulders and downwards to your feet. And I also built in a number of strategies to help you reduce asymmetries that may cause you to have problems with just one foot.

It’s called Free Your Feet, and I’m incredibly excited to share it today as my annual New Year’s gift to you.

The lesson should help you have much more comfortable feet, ankles, and calves when you run, and if discomfort in these areas has interfered with your ability to run that may come as a huge relief. However the lesson will also result in your running more slowly for a short while because the movement patterns involved lengthen your ground contact time, reduce your elasticity, and cause you to run more upright. In other words, it’s an injury recovery lesson, not a running performance lesson. The effect will pass after a couple of runs and you’ll be back to springiness and speed but with feet that feel better. If you wish, you can speed that process up by doing this lesson I created for the UK Feldenkrais Guild the day after you do Free Your Feet.

You can stream or download the lesson from SoundCloud using the link above.

Please share you experiences with the lesson and ask me questions by leaving a reply. It would make my day to hear from you!

I wish you happiness, comfort, and freedom with every step in the new year.

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About the Author

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.

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(5) comments

Andrew January 5, 2015

Hi, I just discovered this lesson/audio (via https://www.facebook.com/WhatisFeldenkrais), and although I’ve only just downloaded it – and therefore haven’t tried it yet – I wanted to say a big “THANK YOU” for sharing it! It addresses the very problem I’ve experienced too. I decided to start forefoot running the day before a half marathon in 2006, and my calf muscles have never forgiven me yet!
I’ll TRY to give some feedback at some point about my experience with it, but that may be hard to do because I am having a lot of Functional Integration sessions and am doing at least two ATM sessions per day at the moment, and my running is on the back burner for now.
But again, thank you very much.
Andy

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    Jae Gruenke January 11, 2015

    Thanks, Andy! I hope you’ll find it helpful. There’s a bit of running right at the beginning and at the end so you can clearly evaluate the effects of the lesson on your running, so hopefully that’ll help you apply it for maximum benefit. Do take a look at the Balanced Runner Keys blog posts I’ve written, which hopefully will help you have a fuller picture of what “running” is in a way that won’t return you to stressing your achilles as you go through the process of having Feldenkrais lessons. Good luck!

    Reply
Rebecca February 1, 2015

Hello, I just did this lesson now and wanted to say thankyou! The biggest illumination for me was in my shoulders, who hadn’t realised they’re supposed to be moving too. When I lifted my knee in the beginning it was hard to do so vertically without swaying my hips over to the same side as the knee, but it got much easier when I allowed my opposite shoulder to join in: then I felt a kind of corkscrewing effect in my torso, making it much easier to do. And really fun. I’m much better with my right shoulder than left, but that’s normal for me, and hopefully they’ll even out one day. I’m yet to see how t affects my running, but I was so amazed by the shoulder thing I wanted to share it! Thanks again Jay.

Rebecca

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Jasmine Layla October 13, 2015

Hello, I read all your lesson.it is very helpful.I am very thankful to you for posting this lesson for us. Thanx for sharing & keep posting……

Reply
Ryan May 15, 2018

Cool! I am looking forward to doing this one. AND – I just posted a link to this page on one of my private Feldenkrais FB groups for people to try.

Peace!

Ryan

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