Welcome to our first blog post in a new series on running. This series is designed to be useful to beginners and would-be beginners, as well as seasoned runners and everyone in between.
Running is primal
Running was a defining feature in our development as a species. We are built to run. As children, almost all of us enjoyed this facility. You may believe that you are too injured, too old, or too uncoordinated to consider jogging—and you may be right—but I would still like to invite you to bring running onto your radar as something to work towards.
As little children we would break into a run without a second thought—it was fun! Pexels
To quote the title of a best-selling book on the subject¹, we were all “Born to Run” in the same sense that we were born to sit, stand, and walk. But unlike the Mexican tribe featured in the book, we no longer have a healthy baseline posture on which it’s safe to add the additional healthy stress of running.
Christopher McDougall’s 2009 bestseller, Born to Run, popularized the debate on natural running. Profile Books Ltd, 2009
The primal posture principles that prepare us well for running are beneficial to our health and fitness even if we never become a regular runner. I have jogged, on and off over the years, and enjoyed the many benefits it provides.
The benefits of running:
- Improves cardiovascular health, strengthening heart and lungs
- Boosts metabolism, supporting a healthy weight
- Builds lower body strength
- Exposes you to fresh air and daylight, especially important for indoor workers
- Elevates mood and relieves stress via natural biochemical changes
- Creates community with other runners, or time for yourself, as per your needs
- Practices and integrates healthy posture in a holistic activity
These park runners are enjoying themselves and getting fitter! But some twisting torsos and tucked pelvises here are likely taking a toll. Healthy posture makes running more efficient and avoids damage.
I’ve engaged with running experts like Danny Dreyer, Dan Lieberman, and Barefoot Ted and reflected on how the Gokhale Method® interfaces with running. Our teacher Michelle Ball, who, amongst the avid runners in our community, has possibly had the most experience of putting Gokhale Method principles into running practice, will author the upcoming series. We begin here with her story in her own words:
Gokhale Method teacher Michelle Ball teaches in Tasmania and mainland Australia (when borders are open).
I started running when I was 18 years old. At my first attempt I was able to run a block and then I had to walk a block. Each day, I was able to run a bit longer and walk less. Doing run-walk intervals, when you are learning, is the best way to ease your way in safely and stay motivated. Eventually, I was able to run without walking in between.
I loved the freedom of being able to put on my shoes and go. I found that it was great for stress relief, mental clarity, and my fitness improved. I could pack my shoes wherever I travelled. Running allowed me to see more of a place in the same amount of time as walking did. I ran through parks, in cities and anywhere else that I could. It was addictive! I now live in Tasmania, and I still run most days, mainly on trails or at the beach. It is the most consistent thing I have ever done in my life. I consider myself a recreational runner. I run because I enjoy it and it has become a form of meditation for me.
Michelle runs on one of Tasmania’s beautiful coastal trails.
It has not always been a bed of roses though. I experienced some injuries before discovering the Gokhale Method, but the Gokhale Method influenced me to change my running style and gave me tools to help prevent further damage.
Today, many of my massage clients tell me they don’t run due to injury. They say, “My knees/hips /back won’t allow it anymore.” I feel sad when I hear about people giving up on things they once enjoyed. Having a better understanding of how the body is meant to work can open doors and possibilities once more.
I look forward to sharing my experiences as a runner and posture teacher with those of you on this journey.
Michelle Ball, Gokhale Method Teacher, using healthy posture to support her running.
If you would like to find out more about how the Gokhale Method can help support you, whether you are currently sedentary or a seasoned runner, sign up to join one of Esther's upcoming FREE Online workshops.
¹ Christopher McDougall, 2009, Born to Run, Profile Books Ltd