Hey RMA crew,

Last week we talked about how travelling in the car or sitting for long periods can make muscles tight as well as shorten you through the front which has an effect on your running. This week I though I would show you guys a few ways to optimise the body and lengthen yourself out before you run no matter where you are. One of the big secrets of looking after length in your body for running is actually that movement lengthens our muscles. That’s all well and good but how do you actually use movement to achieve that? When we treat we actually use movement heaps and there’s a whole bunch of movement strategies called Feldenkrais techniques.

These kind of things are very much under utilised by runners and can be such a great tool for optimising the body before a run. One of the strategies we get elite runners to do is to start to take notice of their body contacts when they’re lying on the floor to check whether they are even or not. Basically you can just lay flat and feel the weight of your head, feel the weight of your shoulders, feel the arch between the small of your back and the floor, through your butt and right down your legs. Just compare that feeling left to right, so be aware of how rigid it feels. Feel where it’s lifted off through the lower back, left compared to right, so that you get a sense if one side is flatter or one side is more raised and rigid.

If you feel even just be aware of where that lower back is lifted off. If you feel flatter on one side just be aware of how that feels. Then you can use movement to straighten out those asymmetries, so basically just bending one knee up (still with your foot on the floor) you can start to move that knee across the body, very slowly and smoothly, and then return it so the knee is pointing towards the ceiling again and then just progress that so the hip, starts to lift off just a little bit.

Once it does lift off and you’re feeling that rotation up through your back, you can continue that movement pattern of knee coming across, hip lifting off, spine rotating and then you can add the head into it as well. The progression of these movements might happen over about 3 minutes. When you lay back flat again just be aware if there are any changes in your body contact. Often you will feel flatter on the side that you moved, and that flatter feeling is a longer straighter body. Obviously then you can do the same to the other side and very commonly you will feel like the arch between your lower back and the surface actually flattens out on the floor, that you feel more warm and in contact on both sides.

That even feeling is length and is basically preparing your body to be long and straight and ready to run. Check out the video we did on this one guys, it probably makes it a lot clearer but definitely start to use movement to prepare the body before a race. It will often save you from having those really poor runs where nothing seems to go right. Have fun with this one guys, remember comfy at all times and if not obviously just stop. Have a great running week guys!

Talk next week,

Paul Trevethan

Running Physio