Posted on 24/06/2020

About the Author: Jono (old man) Rumbelow is the familiar and friendly face at Run in Bree street. You may not know, however, that he is an experienced coach and learned athlete himself. He also has some experience singing in a choir, but let’s not get into that. 

If you are reading this, chances are you were not put off by Part 3. In fact you may have even been intrigued and excited to learn more so thank you. Yes Part 3 was a long one and so we move to:

Developing Fitness and Form.

If you have been following this series, you would recall that in Part 1, I mentioned a gent by the name of Frederick Alexander. While he was no athlete or fitness guru by his own admission, his concern was the primary significance of unity of mind and body in every act that we perform. For him it was about posture, but to be more precise, it was about your head.

You see Alexander knew that if people, not necessary only athletes, could maintain the poise of their heads on top of the spine, a number of issues could potentially be resolved. Some of those benefits for runners were breathing, a relaxed upper body and a more gentler contact with the ground with each stride. In simple terms, it means we need to stand tall and be proud when we run regardless of our age, weight, ability or goals.

By applying this simple yet effective principle, we are able to develop our fitness but the beauty of the system goes way beyond that. You see Alexander’s techniques are:

  • universal and can be used anywhere, any time, without the need for equipment.
  • like a new language and once learnt, can be used at your beck and call.
  • crucial in developing balance and co-ordination. This is a component that is sadly lacking in a vast majority of peoples lives. The ability to move with efficiency with less energy is key to endurance.
  • the cornerstone in developing awareness of how your style needs to change based to the multitude of conditions that we face. This awareness helps us with injury prevention.

Form and fitness are always sacrificed to reach a goal quickly. In today’s fast paced world, we want it now and not next month or next year. Yes results are quick when you start to exercise but to ensure longevity of these results, the use of the correct approach is required.

Approaching your Fitness

Very few people, when they approach a new fitness regime, sit down and write out all the things they want to improve. They have little or no knowledge that our training needs to cover the five components of fitness (see part 1). Furthermore, very few people currently exercising, let alone just starting out, realise that while these five components are interlinked, each one needs a different approach in order to develop it individually but at the same time develop the five components collectively.

As athletes, we tend to force or push through when things are not going well. This approach will, like I saw in my early years as an athlete, lead to injuries that perplex you, to performances that embarrass you and lead to you only pushing harder with a total break down. The basic principle here people, is that form is everything! We are talking about posture, arm swing, leg pick up, breathing, balance, poise, co-ordination you name it. It’s a lot to think about every time you run, hence why I despise it when people run with music… they not concentrating, they are trying to escape the pain of exercising!

Sacrificing form for fitness, not addressing the five components of fitness individually, will lead to trouble sooner or later. How many of you have trained when a niggle is present, or you feel slightly sick, because you are worried you will lose fitness? That is when common sense is ignored and your overall health and well being is put at risk. Besides, being totally injury free or 100% healthy is a myth – life happens so accept it.

I know I said there were only four parts in this series  but the complexity of part three and four meant lengthening it to a fifth part. Next time we will finish off this series with improvement and recovery.

Until next time happy training.

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