In good form

Just over a year ago, I met M, who, as I mentioned before, was in the process of getting her Pilates certification. Now she’s off to a higher purpose: thru-hiking the Pacific Coast Trail with her boyfriend.

During my brief time as her client, we covered a very full range of Pilates topics, but the one that stuck with me the most is form when doing non-Pilates activities — like running, cycling, climbing and cello-ing (my four main hobbies). When running, she had me pull down my shoulders (trying to “touch” the shoulder blades together) and relax my arms, to hold them in front of me like I’m carrying a tray. When combined with general good posture, this is surprisingly effective at making running easier.

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When cycling, she had me focus on my core and triceps to get the pressure out of my shoulders. Though I really enjoyed having someone to cycle with, I admit that I didn’t always want to hear her commentary while I was cycling (and probably said as much). “Triceps, Sarah!” I can still hear her now. But I think it was effective, and that’s probably why people train with trainers — they can get into your subconscious more than you can do on your own, and make you a better runner/cycler/climber/cello player.

Today started out a little rough — it’s always hard to jump back into running again after a long run on Sunday. The second I remembered to focus on form, however, I relaxed into my pace and finished the two miles with ease, and well under 30 mins. Thanks, M! See you on the trail in a couple of weeks.

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