When Not To Cut Corners: Thoughts On Body Awareness Training And The Older Athlete

FitOldDog with Deb! Did they choose wisely. It would appear that they did.

Life is brief, choose wisely. Photo at Johnny’s by Rory.

“Shortcuts make long delays.” Pippen, Lord of the Rings.

Hi folks, welcome to today!

Choosing a bed is a non-trivial task - you'll spend a lot of time there.

Choosing a bed is a non-trivial task – you’ll spend a lot of time there. Spend wisely!

One reason I promote body awareness training is because, in my opinion, such training combined with an Ironman race saved my life in 2010.

I have to admit that The Feldenkrais Method is weird, but remarkably effective. You’ll be asked, “Which of your arms feels longest?” You decide it’s the left one, you look down and it’s the same length as the right one. Lesson? You have work to do to bring your mental body map in line with your actual body map – a truly remarkable epiphany. Feldenkrais fixed my knee where everyone else failed, about three years prior to that critical race in 2010. Thank goodness for Feldenkrais, and my Feldenkrais Instructor, Karen. I’ve been studying this ever since, and more recently in combination with another great technique, Continuum.

We each get to choose how we spend our time and our money, and sometimes those choices are critical. For instance, when I have my old Chevy truck serviced I never save money on tires, brakes and steering – lose those and you could lose your life. No cheap tires for me. The same applies to buying a bed. You spend a lot of time in bed, so get the best one you can afford is my advice.

FitOldDog and Rebecca's Body Awareness Video Series - Link to FitOldDog Video store.

FitOldDog and Rebecca’s Body Awareness Video Series – Link to FitOldDog Video store.

But what about training for the Ironman? Should I first spend my money on a coach, a fancy watch, a custom bike, pretty clothing, races in remote locations with fancy hotels? Recently we’ve taken to finding races we can drive to and to camp when we arrive, and it’s great? I was surprised about that, in fact, expecting race prep problems in a campsite. I thought I would have all sorts of problems not being in a hotel, but it turned out that I didn’t have to wait ages for elevators on race-day morning.

I elect to keep body awareness training at the top of my financial agenda – it’s what keeps these old bones going.

Running with the Whole Body book by Jack Heggie

A great little Feldenkrais-based book on running by Jack Heggie, which shows the power of the mind over body function.

Do you have to spend a lot of money on body awareness training? Well, it’s up to you. I would recommend that you start with just a couple of Feldenkrais or Continuum sessions. Then do your homework. Explore your body with your mind. Another great resource for an introduction to this method is that old book by Jack Heggie, ‘Running With Your Whole Body.’ It is a classic case of Feldenkrais-based body awareness training. You can get a copy online for $12 at Barnes & Noble, right now.

Best running book I ever read. It will help you run injury free AND give you an introduction to Feldenkrais (body awareness) thinking at the same time.

Give it a try!

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Is that Deb choosing a bed in the picture? I hope you got a good one.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.