#223 What runners can learn from ballet dancers - DOC

#223 What runners can learn from ballet dancers

Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast we’re talking about what runners can learn from ballet dancers.

Runners want to run. Ballet dancers want to dance. 

But runners just run. Ballet dancers, don’t just dance. 

Ballet dancers practice the basic moments that make them better dancers. 

I was just recording a podcast interview with Valerie from RunRx and she came up with a system that she’s been using for many years now to teach runners how to run more naturally and at a lower risk of injury. 

What Valerie at RunRx has focused on is figuring out how to actually strengthen and build skill around the very exercises that can force us to engage the proper muscle groups, use proper form, and hopefully run with a much lower risk of injury.

One thing that came out of the RunRx Doc On The Run Podcast interview, (and by the way, the full episode with her podcast is going to be coming out in about a week or so), so watch for that. 

But one of the things that she brought up, which I’d never heard before, was one of the best analogies I’ve ever heard. Valerie made this analogy about ballet dancers and she said:

“You know, form is everything with running. If you think about it, you have to practice and develop your form. If you think about ballet dancers, well, people don’t naturally dance ballet well. People start out in ballet and they train for many years and they don’t just dance all day. What they do more than anything else is a series of very specific movements that are supposed to develop their capacity to dance.” 

The seven basic movements in ballet, without giving you the French words, basically mean:

to bend, 

to stretch, 

to rise, 

to slide or glide, 

to jump, 

to dart, 

to turn. 

Those are all the basic movements that actually happen in ballet.

Ballet dancers actually spend years practicing those specific movements and as a consequence they can then dance and perform.

As runners, we want to think that we should just go out and run. 

The fact is is that people don’t naturally dance well. People don’t actually run well either, naturally. 

We have to develop our ability and for.  

We have to learn that running ability, and much of what we learn is actually dysfunctional. 

Studies show that 85% of kids are forefoot strikers, yet 74% of adults are midfoot strikers. 

So what does that mean? 

Do we unlearn how to run? 

Do we actually learn to run dysfunctionally because of driving cars and sitting at desks and not being active for many, many years? 

I mean, much of what we do in running when we land and we put our foot out in front of us and we break, we’re basically crash landing and then we have to transition to pushing off and trying to re-accelerate again.

 But what Valerie teaches and the thing that she said is that there are really three phases in running that are important. Those of course happen when your foot is in contact with the ground. When you’re in the air, nothing’s happening, but when you hit the ground, something has to happen.

When your foot is actually on the ground, the three movements in running that you have to focus on and practice are pose, fall, and pull. 

And again, in her interview, Valerie is going to cover all of this in great detail, but when your foot is in contact with the ground, you have to practice those movements the same way and with the same diligence that ballet dancers practice their movements so that they can actually perform. 

If you want to perform better as a runner, think about the way that ballet dancers dedicate much of their time to practicing those specific movements that will facilitate their dancing and you will end up running better and probably more efficiently with a much lower risk of injury. 

So check out Valerie’s interview from RunRx as soon as it comes out!



If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me PodcastQuestion@docontherun.com. And then make sure you join me for the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast!