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It’s that time again! The temp starts climbing towards 70 degrees, birds are chirping, buds are blooming, and all the runners have emerged from hiding and are hitting the pavement. With a wide variety of running styles and goals, one thing is true for all runners, no matter your level:
A little prep before you run goes a long way.
Why? The number one reason is injury prevention. Next? Performance, overall health of tissue and joints, and longevity. If you’re someone who has had nagging injuries, pain while you run, or just want to feel better on the road, take our 5-minute Runner’s Prep 101:
1) Tissue Release (total time 5-10 min)
The first order of business before you run is making sure your tissue (muscle, connective tissue and fascia) is ready to handle the rigors of running. Basically, we’re asking: What’s tight? Whatever tightness and imbalance you’ve developed during long hours of work, travel etc., you’re going to take that set-up into your run, and the results are often not pretty. Key tight spots that will hamper your run include: hip flexors/quads; the anterior (front) part of the shoulder; and your calves.
We use a couple of simple tools for tissue release—Myofascial release rollers, and TriggerPoint balls. Both tools basically “mash” the tissue, like a self-massage, and allow the tissue to rehydrate, and also allow for greater blood flow and neural connection.
2) Muscle Activation (total time 5-10 min)
Next up for runner’s prep is muscle activation, specifically the supporting/stabilizing musculature of the lower spine, hips, and shoulders. Here, we’re asking: What’s weak? A common pattern in our computer age is that the muscles we need to function most effectively in motion, tone down or turn off when we sit all day. These are commonly smaller muscles that are intrinsic and can get “dominated” by larger muscles if they are not used.
Another simple tool we use a lot for muscle activation—resistance bands. The muscles we’re going after here are the stabilizing muscles of the hips and core. Clamshells and Lateral steps with resistance, Resistance band rows and rotation with resistance are a few of the basic activation moves to prep for your run.
3) Integrate! (total time 5 min)
Finally, we encourage you to just move in all planes before you set out on your run. Forwards, backwards, laterally, add a twist. Maybe some easy jumping jacks so your body knows what it’s in for. Enjoy!!
If you’d like more info on strength for running, or if you’d like to set up an assessment, CLICK THE LINK BELOW