Close your eyes and imagine someone running. What does it look like? Do you picture the runner from the side, the front, the back, some other angle? What parts of the runner’s body move? Do any parts stay still?
I’m going to take a wild guess that your mental image in some ways resembles this:
The legs and arms are moving a lot, your torso and head are moving less and may even feel pretty still, and the world blurs by. Or maybe the world doesn’t even move at all, just the runner, as is the case when we use a treadmill:
(No particular comment on the content of this video in either way, it just happened to be a treadmill video filmed from the side that I could easily find on YouTube.)
What you pictured relates to how you think of your own running and affects how you run. Here are some of the ramifications of this mental imagery:
Now let me propose a radical shift in perspective. What if you thought of your running this way instead:
Here are some ramifications of this very different mental imagery:
What would be different about your running if you thought of it this way? Try it and leave a comment describing what you felt.
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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.