Taking up running in my 40s
As a youngster and as an actor I was always a pretty active person, but I didn’t start running as a ‘thing’ until my 40s. I had qualified as a Feldenkrais teacher and had a 5-year old kid and was doing an exchange with a personal trainer who was curious about Feldenkrais. She invited me to her gym for my session and I was terrified she would put me on a running machine with her and I might turn out be rubbish after giving birth and all that early motherhood entails! Of course she didn’t, but it meant I tried out running – albeit just back from my daughter’s school. It shocked me that I was out of breath after 10 minutes.
Barefoot 10Ks and more
Well it’s a long story. I had an operated knee and a penchant for not wearing shoes so I ended up making a long exploration of how I ran (as well as the information out there). I was happiest running barefoot or in the vibram 5 finger shoes and adopted 10k-half marathon as my distance of choice, and I loved just being outside more too – but I was always using it primarily to explore, discover, improve my movement and have ended up learning so much I now work with other runners too.
Of course running is similar but significantly different to walking. But in exploring running and the ways it is different to walking, I learnt a large amount about walking at the same time.
Crawling and creeping
These crawling and creeping patterns that we developed (or didn’t!) as tiny ones underpin so much of our walking and running patterns: the way we use and co-ordinate arms and legs and how we integrate them through the use of our spine – and indeed our whole self. Going back to explore these early movements again and improve them can carry over into our upright locomotion patterns and make significant differences. This has been noticed more recently by the likes of Ido Portal and other ‘movers’ driving the more creative side of the fitness world. But for me these lessons in the Feldenkrais Method are pretty unique in giving us time, space and a carefully crafted structure to feel what we are doing more, pay attention to little details and differences that usually slide under the radar, and peek into forgotten corners of our mobility so that we can become aware of how we meet these movements again, get curious and improve at a very fundamental level.
For this short lesson I have chosen a piece of the creeping pattern that is to more to do with how we use our arms, as that is often a piece we don’t consider so important when it comes to walking and running. (because we do those with our legs, right?) But we will see what spending time with just this does for your whole gait in fact. And if you were able to join me for the longer version on 11th September (2022), we went further with integrating your legs more – and maybe even got to locomoting!