Last week I shared a video from Feldenkrais practitioner Annie Thoe of Sensing Vitality to help you improve the coordination of your ankle, knee, and hip joints. I hope you tried it a few times. Good running form depends not on being able to execute the movements of running with robotic correctness, but rather on being able to feel your body clearly, having a wide range of various options for moving in any situation, and being able instinctively to choose the best one. To develop your ability to do this you need to do the opposite of drills – you need to do exploration, and a lot of it.
When you develop your running form this way, you won’t do it at the expense of your ability to walk (or skip or do the limbo). You’ll be better able to switch between the two gaits and do both of them with great skill and enjoyment.
Here’s part two of Annie’s ankle stability video lesson I shared last week. After I did it I felt really great. I took a lot more time doing it than the length of the video, especially experimenting with finding the right spot underneath my foot for the tennis ball so that I could drop my foot up and down on it without it rolling away (this also required my knee to be right over the ball). As with last week’s video, the fact that you’re exploring your heels doesn’t mean it’s going to make you run on your heels, it just means you’ll have a better feeling for the relationship between ankles, knees, and hips, with better adaptability to the terrain underfoot, more comfort when heelstriking in walking, and much freer hips.
If you enjoyed these two videos, check out the rest of Annie’s videos as well. Better ability to feel what you’re doing means better running!
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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.