Born to Run: The Secrets of Kenyan Athletics.
It’s not often that there are two excellent programmes on TV that can be related to the ideas behind the Alexander Technique but BBC4 had another such programme which looked at the training of Kenyan boys and girls to become runners. This should still be on iPlayer.
The programme showed runner after runner moving with easy grace, poise and a focussed but relaxed style. Irish runner Eamonn Coghlan was amazed at the contrast between the way he’d trained – he’d expected to run himself ‘into the ground’ to the extent that he would be sick at the end of a training session! This is another example of what F M Alexander would call ‘end-gaining’. Coghlan could see that these young Kenyans always looked relaxed in training sessions and they could have gone on running even further than they did.
Brother Colm O’Connell, who coaches the Kenyans, said he aimed to build up each runner’s confidence in himself / herself and he had five main points he wanted runners to concentrate on during training:
Very neat – and very much encouraging people to think about their use and the ‘means whereby’ they run, rather than just thinking about winning. And they are fast – these Kenyans win many international races. This formula is quite similar to that advocated by Malcolm Balk in ‘Master the Art of Running’ a great book if you want to explore how to apply what you have learned in your Alexander lessons, to your own running.
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