JAE Gruenke aims to make you feel like you’re flying next time you lace up those training shoes, writes Alison Gray
A session with Jae Gruenke aka The Balanced Runner, £60 for 75 minutes. Jae is trained in the Feldenkrais Method which aims to improve human movement, and she has developed a programme for helping runners. Jae wants you to think of a day when you had an amazing run, when everything came together, when you glided across the earth and thought, “I bloomin’ love this!” She believes every run can be that way.
Jae sees a lot of runners who are struggling with injuries, often long-term ones, and her gentle approach means that even if you are in pain, you can start work with her. There could be something inherently wrong with your running style so whether you have been running for ten minutes or ten years Jae will deconstruct your style. If you are fortunate enough to be running pain-free there are also benefits. Jae can help you listen to your body, and make sure you are not developing any bad habits which could turn into injuries in the future, for example if you were to up your training ahead of a race.
I was expecting to be doing dynamic moves, or at the very least to be working out at the speed of a yoga or pilates class. But Jae goes even slower than that. And there is a lot of thinking involved. I don’t believe I have ever given much consideration to the role my pelvis plays in my running style – indeed, I confidently inform Jae that many Scottish people don’t even have pelvises – I’ve been to a salsa class in Edinburgh and those hips don’t try. Jae smiles sympathetically and ignores my protestations. We do a few exercises in the treatment room. Jae has me lying on my left side and moving my right knee forward in slow motion. How does the rest of my body respond – do my arms want to move forward too? We repeat this on the opposite side, then Jae takes me outside to run up and down the pavement to see how I move. Jae is looking at hands, arms, shoulders and after each little run asks me to think about how a different part of my body is moving.
You probably need a few sessions to get long-term benefits from Jae’s expertise. After just one appointment my head is buzzing with questions. I take her advice and try to think about various parts of my anatomy on my post-session runs. What are my arms doing? And now that I have located my pelvis, how can I make sure I don’t lose it again?
• Jae’s blog is at balancedrunner.com; for Edinburgh appointments at The Healthy Life Centre, 37 Bread Street, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 07500 593 363