Hey RMA Crew,
Had a great road trip out to visit the Pittsworth RMA mums the other day! Big shout out to Danielle, Bin, Jamie, and Janelle for helping organise it. Will and I had heaps of fun! You guys have such a great running community out there! It was a two and a half hour drive and I thought I would use that as an example of how to manage your body for running especially after long trips. Sometimes we travel for races and we don’t always get there the day before so it’s handy to know how to manage tightness during and after a car trip so you can basically hit the ground running… Literally!
One of the first things to be aware of with a car trip is that sitting for longs periods does a couple of things, it will cause muscles to start to tighten just a little bit and because of the position in sitting your muscles through the front of your body, the hip flexors will start to shorten. This isn’t ideal for our running because it’s that length through the front you need to hold your position upright then lean from ankles. With short hip flexors you’ll have a tendency to lean from the hips which does all kinds of funky things to your running technique.
So one way to counteract that is to use movement patterns in the car and we always get runners to use little tiny hip movements. So basically what you do is in sitting try to move your right leg forward just a centimetre and slowly relax it. You’re trying to be smooth with your movements, try not to make them too jerky but just rock that hip very slowly forward and then let it rest back into the normal sitting position, it’s just a tiny (slow) one centimetre type of action.
You can do that for about a minute and then switch and do the other side. What that will do is put a movement pattern through hips and lower back which will actually help to keep it longer and more relaxed. If you ever have tension sitting for long periods you’ll find you notice the difference pretty much straight away, it just eases it off. The other thing to be aware of is just your foot position in the car. Sometimes particularly with an automatic car you can kind of leave your legs kicking out to the side resting on the foot rest on the left.
You can do the same thing on the right side. That leaves a little muscle in your butt in a shortened position. The muscle is actually called piriformis and your sciatic nerve runs through it so again that can set you up for tension and even lower back pain with your runs. Make sure you have your feet moderately straight on the pedals, not kicking out to the side. So check out our video on travelling techniques for running so you can see exactly what I’m talking about and make sure you’re preparing your body for running even while you’re driving, and don’t fall into the trap of tightening up and putting a cap on your performance by sitting down for long periods before your race.
Thanks again to all the crew RMA crew and Pittsworth parkrun on Saturday. Such a great RMA community all around Australia! Love catching up and putting faces to names!
Enjoy your week guys, happy running!