#216 The Secret To Pain-Free Running (and Walking!) with Helen Hall


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Human beings were born to run. No sooner have we learned to walk than we’re breaking into a run – it’s just another gear. So why do so many of us struggle with running as adults?

Today’s guest, Helen Hall, is the running coach I’ve been working with for the past 18 months and who trained me for my recent marathon. As founder of Perpetual Forward Motion Efficient Running Coaching her clients range from elite athletes to ordinary amateurs who want to run or walk pain-free, with greater efficiency and, most importantly, with greater enjoyment. It’s no exaggeration to say Helen has had a profound effect on my life. So I’m delighted to be able to share her wisdom with you in this conversation, which is relevant whether you’re an experienced runner, a novice, or even if running doesn’t appeal at all.

We begin our chat by looking at the core principles to Helen’s approach. Awareness is everything and she teaches clients to really notice what their body is doing. Where is your head sitting? How are you using your arms? It’s only when you’ve noticed that you can begin to change. And changing means becoming more efficient – learning the adjustments that help you to move with freedom. Movement, Helen points out, is a ‘job share’. We need to be able to recruit as much of our bodies as we can to do it well.

I can testify to this holistic approach. Working with Helen hasn’t just changed my running, it’s helped me to walk faster, breathe better and stand more comfortably. It’s made me aware of how past injuries and trauma can affect you for decades. I’ve even learned how the surgery I had for appendicitis as a child played a huge part in my experience running the London Marathon this autumn.

And, this conversation contains my first real deep dive into that recent marathon experience, which many of you have been asking about. It wasn’t the race I’d planned, but it turned out to be the race I needed. Helen helps me unpack why I found it so emotional and explains why my physical struggles were a sign of progress not limitation. I hope this conversation conveys just how valuable I think Helen’s approach is. Whether running is for you or not, I know it’ll get you thinking about how you’re sitting or standing right now, and noticing how you use your body for the rest of the day.

Find Helen's video series here https://www.helen-hall.co.uk/product/the-pfm-wujwum-series/

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Show notes available at https://drchatterjee.com/216

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