Lawrence Van Lingen: Discover Your Inner Ability – Run Better, Move Better, Breathe Better, Feel Better

August 21, 2020


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We are joined by Lawrence van Lingen, originally from South Africa and current resident of Laguna Beach, CA. Lawrence is a movement specialist and specializes in structural integration; he has helped thousands of runners to overcome injuries, transcend athletic achievement and be healthier—from amateur athletes to seasoned professionals at the top level of endurance sport. He is the founder of InnerRunner, which offers online classes and workshops to help all level athletes hone in running skills, movement skills, and wellbeing. Below you will find some links to a few fantastic youtube videos by Lawrence as well as his full YouTube channel.

If you have any follow-up questions for Lawrence, please email us at

On this episode:

  • Previous episode mentioned: Dr. Phil Maffetone and & Alan Couzens: Pros and Cons of Metabolic Testing, Plus: MAF Q&A
  • Lawrence’s background includes training as a chiropractor, completing a postgraduate degree in sports chiropractic. He used to work with elite athletes on movement, treatment, and mobilization. Now he primarily works on fascia and movement.
  • Difference between a sub 2:10 vs. a 4:00+ marathon runner
    • Has a lot to do with the shape and the position they can hold
    • You want to see:
      • Ankles and feet that are more relaxed
      • Shoulders soften
      • More length in torso
  • What you can’t do in a training workshop you can’t do when you run
  • Best way to train without causing tension:
    • Calm and relax your nervous system down to create space and fluidity in your body
      • If you relax, the tissues fall into place more naturally
      • Keep movement in your natural range of motion
      • Learn how to position and manipulate your body so that you know how it intrinsically feels to be in that position


  • Control your nervous system through breathing
    • Breathe less, slower, and softer
  • A lot of the movements that Lawrence does in his workshops are based on somatic movements
    • Slow down
    • Learn intrinsic movement patterns
    • Sync up breathing and movement (this especially helps with back pain)
      • Example: during the Cat-Cow exercise breathe in as you arch your back, and breathe out as you round your back.
  • It’s important to actively work on your breathing
    • Work on slow, soft breathing for ~15 minutes a day
    • The 365 Method
      • 3 times a day, breathe 6 breaths a minute for 5 minutes total. Repeat 365 days a year
      • Nose breathe while doing this method (helps you breathe into your diaphragm)
  • Breathe: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor (if you’d like to support the show use this link!)
    • The importance of maintaining a balance between the parasympathetic system (rest and digest) and sympathetic nervous system
    • Without the parasympathetic system, your digestion and sleep are affected which impacts the recovery process
      • This can all lead to a cycle of poor sleep, anxiety, and tension which contributes to a sympathetic overload
  • The roles of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body:
    • Oxygen is a vasoconstrictor (blood vessel constrictor) and a smooth muscle constructor (airway constrictor)
      • When you’re hyperventilating you need more oxygen but you’re also hyper oxygenated
    • Carbon Dioxide is a vasodilator (opens up the blood vessels) and a bronchodilator (softens your tissue) and increases your ability to breathe. It also facilities oxygen transport from your red blood cells into your tissues (like a lubricant for oxygen).
      • It’s very beneficial to have normal levels of CO2 in your bloodstream.
  • Lawrence uses an Oura ring to observe HRV and respiration rate
  • The most important thing is to have a daily routine!
  • Sync breathes into movement
    • Lawrence encourages foam rolling to 6 breaths per minute
    • Spend time softening and slowing down your breathing

How does Lawrence approach his work

  • He treats everyone as if they are a runner because if you can run then you can move in a functional manner
  • He treats individuals problems/concerns and gets them to a point where they can run if they wanted to
  • Running 30 minutes, 4x a week is a good, loose goal
  • “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” – Dobzhansky
  • He treats everyone from a functional anthropological and anatomical viewpoint
  • The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Lieberman (if you’d like to support the show use this link!)

Barefoot and minimal running

  • We have more nerve endings in our feet than in our hands
  • Find a safe place to run barefoot
  • Slowly build the level of strength in the feet
  • A goal to aim for:
    • Run an easy jog for 20 minutes 2x a week
    • Start with a 1-minute easy jog, then every 4 runs add another minute
  • Barefoot running downregulates the nervous system
  • Currently, Lawrence runs in Asics GlideRides and wears Luna sandals

Lawrence’s InnerRunner Workshops

  • Sync up your breathing
  • How to use your hips in a synchronized manner
  • Forward shift vs. forward lean
    • Try and just get your hips to shift forward
  • Plus so much more

Resistance training 

  • The forces of running are large so you can only replicate it with heavyweights or plyometrics
  • There is room for a little bit of strength training
    • Lawrence likes squats and deadlifts
    • “When it comes to being strong, you need to be stable.”
  • The goal is to become more resilient
    • You’re working on movement, balance, coordination, and timing
    • You want to move with length and strength
  • Ask yourself: what is your intent behind what you do?
  • Lawrence likes to do The Turkish Getup

Lawrence’s YouTube Channel highlights

Before a run, Lawrence recommends:

Adding fluidity and timing

  • If you want to add fluidity and timing to your running, practice it at rest, or lying down if you can calm your body and make it flow at home when you are calm you may find it appearing in your movement.
  • Rhythm allows you to relax. Staccato is not rhythm. 180 steps per minute to a metronome is not rhythm, which ends up staccato. That creates tension. If you believe “tight is right” then by all means us staccato.
  • To be fluid and run with rhythm, to free up movement and delay fatigue you have to be of a calm mind, breathe freely and be in the moment.

Happy penguin

  • Foundational: learn how to stack body (i.e., vertebrae, hip, legs)

Connect your Core and Switch on Glutes: Frog Bridge to Butterfly Crunchie

  • How to link your anterior core to your hips and glutes for a more connected core, hips, and glutes. Great for people that have lost weight, after pregnancy or people that feel they have weak glutes and or stomach muscles. Great for achieving a six-pack.
  • People with overactive hip flexors, iliopsoas muscles, or deep anterior core tension will find it useful. It is also a great Thoracic spine mobilizing exercise.

Big Toe walk for better gait/ how to walk

  • Walking fast is counterproductive; don’t use it to burn calories
  • Recommended is at least 1 hour to 90 minutes four times per week.

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