It is not uncommon, when watching Olympic runners bounding across the track in their typically graceful and relaxed manner, to feel as if they are floating on air. Their apparent effortlessness is due in no small part to their ability to coordinate (or synchronize) their feet, hands, arms, and legs such that they move in a cooperative, and even synergistic fashion. In fact, producing an efficient and powerful stride can be thought of as the act of coordinating (or synchronizing) the movements of your entire body from metatarsal to metacarpal, and head to toe, in such a manner that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts and muscular force, rather than being additive, becomes multiplicative.
In this workshop we will explore various ways of connecting our metatarsals to our metacarpals vis-à-vis all of the joints that lie between them. Utilizing motor concepts from both Feldenkrais and martial arts, we will discover how the movement of the hands and arms can work symbiotically and even synergistically with not only the scapulae and upper thoracic spine, but the pelvis, legs, and feet. In the process we will begin to gain a sense of what it means to float on air.
Why Participate in this Workshop?
Unlike conventional running approaches, all of which rely heavily on imitation, correction, rules, tips, and drills in an attempt to get people to attain a rigidly defined ideal, we will be exploring in a manner that allows us to come closer to whatever ideal more closely fits our own individual physical characteristics. In this manner, we will tap directly into the vast potential of the nervous system, taking advantage of its extraordinary capacity, when given the choice, to select optimal sensorimotor patterns out of the virtually infinite number available at any given moment.
Topics for discussion during the workshop:
- Role of hands, arms, and shoulders in running
- Skeletal differences between women and men and their effect on form
- Biomechanics and its limitations
- Conventional approaches to running: possible benefits and pitfalls
- Imitation and correction: how effective are they?
- How useful are tips?
- What is ideal form?
- Degrees of freedom and the complexity of human movement
- The general manner by which all humans learn to run
- Human movement in contradistinction to machine movement
- Humans as biological organisms rather than mechanical objects
This workshop is geared for anyone interested in running, from weekend warriors to world class athletes.
Please note: Given the difficulty of mastering any skill, including one as complex as running, the lessons covered in this workshop should be seen as an introduction to improving your stride rather than as a complete guide to running with optimal efficiency. For regardless the subject, not only does achieving mastery require enormous space for wonder and exploration, and therefore a tremendous amount of patience and time, but in virtually all cases, it involves a good deal more detailed guidance, personal instruction, and trials (with “errors”) than any single workshop can offer. That said, the experience should give you a running start (pun intended) toward deeper learning and lasting improvement.
- Photo – © Annie Spratt on Unsplash