Chipper as a cheerleading coach, Jill Burchmore gave tidbits of instruction from the sidelines: “Nice hips, Leslie!” “On your toes, Kathleen!”
To a bystander, the scene may have looked something like a sorority initiation. But rather than being a bare-footed induction into an all-girls club, these women were actually learning to run.
“We were born knowing how to run,” says Burchmore, owner of 180 Wellness, a Telluride-based company devoted to helping people focus on their health and wellness goals. We’ve just learned some bad habits along the way, she says, to the point that most of us need to reacquaint ourselves with the way our bodies were designed to run.
Burchmore, a competitive runner, recently started a Running Workshop to help runners of all levels and abilities reach their goals. Through teaching proper positioning and alignment, breathing techniques and other lessons, Burchmore has been able to take her running to new levels – without the pain often associated with the sport.
Through the Running Workshop, Burchmore has been able to share those lessons with aspiring runners like Alyssa Ramirez.
“I had reached a plateau, both with my speed and my ability,” said Ramirez, who will be running in the ultra-tough Imogene Pass Run this Saturday alongside a handful of other runners in Burchmore’s workshop. “I figured I would try this workshop, so I would really know how to run correctly – anything to make the sport more enjoyable.”
Burchmore’s workshop started only a few weeks ago, but runners like Ramirez and the 13 others attending the twice-weekly classes have already come away with more than they had anticipated. For Mary Page, it’s running with less fear of injury; for Leslie Reeder, it’s simply about learning new techniques that could make her a better runner.
“It’s not about the speed, but rather learning the right techniques so that you’re running correctly. The speed comes naturally after that,” Burchmore explained.
The Running Workshop focuses more on technique than on actually running; Burchmore leads her group through a series of drills to build strength, confidence, and knowledge, discussing things like the laws of physics when the foot meets the road, and how to avoid the impact that comes with the sport. She assigns homework – running – in between sessions, so participants can practice their technique and build up their cardiovascular levels.
Burchmore has spent many years researching the fundamentals of running and attending running workshops when she can find them.
“When I watched video analysis of myself in a recent workshop, I…realized I’ve been running incorrectly for years,” said Burchmore, who in the past has suffered from such running-induced injuries as IT Band Syndrome, Plantar Faciitis and shin splints. Learning new running techniques and changing her running style, Burchmore reports she is running injury free for the first time since she started running more than a decade ago.
Burchmore began running in high school, when she was what she calls “overweight and generally unhealthy.”
“I was so bad at track, I had to switch to the Shot Put,” she recalls. “I pretty much killed myself to not come in last in the 440.”
Those humbling experiences have had a lasting effect on Burchmore, who said she loves helping others get through the sport’s first difficult stages. Today Burchmore is a personal trainer, professional coach, and passion test facilitator, with over 20 years of experience helping people unlock their fitness potential.
Due to the large turnout at Burchmore’s first Running Workshop (which goes through Sept. 22) she will be offering another workshop, Sept. 12-Oct. 12, rain or shine, Mondays and Wednesdays from 12-1p.m. or 5:30-6:30 p.m. (same classes at two different times).
The group meets outside the River Club in Telluride. The cost is $150 for 10 sessions; bring a friend for $220, for the two of you, or drop in for $20 each session. For more information on Burchmore’s Health and Wellness business or to register for upcoming workshops, visit www.180healthwellness.com or call 970-708-5037, or email email@example.com.