With the current state of our races being paused, I feel like now is a perfect time to slow down and start paying more attention to our form, workout routine, and habits. By becoming more aware of how we approach our running workouts we can become faster and improve the possibility of avoiding injuries.
“Imagine you had to wait for your car’s engine to blow up to know when you should add oil”( Supple Leopard, Kelly Starrett). As runners, we have an ability to push past the pain and dive into a deeper space for the sake of stepping across that finish line. However, when our body gives us the red flag of pain ( the engine blowing up) that seems to be the first instance of maintenance taken. By practicing these 5 preventative steps, we can not only maintain our best running health, but also improve our overall performance and avoid that red flag, season ending moment.
These 5 Steps Are:
1) Mobilizing. What is it and Why it's important?
While running, we should be free of any hot spots or pain. Our tissues should be sliding surfaces that allow our joints, such as ankle and knee, to move at full range of motion with 0 pain or restriction.
“ By freeing up the movement potential of our joints, we can improve the functional mobility, allowing us to move in more ranges of motion.” (The Running Revolution, Nicholas Romanov).
For example, if we spend the majority of your day sitting, the front of our hips can become tight and will conform to this new “normal” closed position. They will be unable to fully open and stabilize movement during a run. Our body will compensate for stability from other muscles/muscle groups not intended for that movement or longevity of motion = injury.
Every workout/run should begin and end with mobility work in order to prepare the tissue for movement and starve off possible injuries.. This can be performed by “smashing” of the tissue, working out the restrictions aka knots by use of a lacrosse ball or a firm foam roller. Another method includes banded distractions. By using a jump stretch band we distract the joint into its proper position. We then create movement around the joint to ensure the surrounding tissue is able to freely move.
Our tissues move in the direction of where the joints tell them to go, like cars are to roads. By getting the joints open and moving correctly, connective tissue and muscles will work more efficiently aiding in improved movement patterns. Runners should spend 5-10 minutes mobilizing the tissues and joints of the lower body before and after each workout. For information on how to implement this practice check out Kelly Starret’s The Ready State or his free videos on his Youtube channel.
Stay Tuned For Step #2 The Warmup, When, What, and How?
I'm passionate about running, fitness, nutrition and all things that make me and everyone else a better version of ourselves.