Relaxed Running

By Colleen Yorke
© Navigational Art By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.
When we watch the best runners in the world race, we notice that almost all of them look supremely relaxed at almost all times. The grimacers and grunters and strainers are the exceptions (and usually the ones finishing behind). Sprinters are especially adept at letting the speed come out, and making it look easy. What is their secret?

Relaxed running in the most difficult moments can be learned. Instead of focusing on working out hard and advancing our fitness toward a performance goal, we should be focused on the moment of running. We typically touch down 800 times a mile. Have we ever paid attention to how these feet – little once, now fully grown – carry us through the run, through our lives? How about our shoulders? They have carried loads, some more heavy than others. Are they low and even, when we run? And our hands? Loosely cupped or balled into a fist? Writing in cursive, giving, extending or reaching out, holding someone else’s hand – so much of our lives is written, etched into the skin of our hands.

We are part of all that we have met. Running takes us to another place, it allows us to imagine ourselves the way we sometimes do not dare to imagine ourselves: in our most private and secret moments, in the most extraordinarily ordinary instances of life, living out perhaps dreams we keep to ourselves. Tout pour tout. Something for everyone.

In my running life I have discovered when we become consciously aware of moving in this moment, and the moments that came before, desirable movement patterns come naturally. We feel good, we feel energized and very much to our own surprise, we discover how fast we become ... while our running gait becomes flowing and relaxed, even when we are in the last third of a race...