Hey RMA crew! Talked to your Nicole the other day and she put it to you guys what you wanted me to go through. Jenny Sullivan wanted to know about tight muscles and how best to free them up. Thanks Jenny, such a great place to start.

This weekend has been kind of cool for me. Got my run done early because my boy Jase turned 10 and we had the family over to celebrate. Six hours of chasing the nieces and nephews around the yard then pushing them on the tyre swing. Almost lost my Abbie into the bamboo by the back fence. She’s so brave. Have to keep reminding myself she’s only seven. No father of the year nominations just yet but it all left me kind of tight and sore. Think it was mostly the run but life aint’ helping either.

Want to get right for a Monday run so I have to be efficient with how I tackle my tightness so it doesn’t get worse. Tension in a muscle can be a bit of a silent killer and as runners we want to be crystal clear about what we are tackling. If we understand WHAT tightness is then we can understand HOW to nip it in the bud BEFORE if progresses to an injury.

So today I want to focus on the ‘What Tightness is’ because it’s at the heart of staying running till we’re 102! If you understand the muscle ‘Locks’ guess what…You can then ‘hack’ that system with your toolkit of skills to run for life.

So what are the locks?


Fascia is the layer of tissue surrounding your muscles. Like your Skins, it’s a sleeve of collagen around and also in between muscles. It’s actually a pulley system that determines how you move. We all have movement options.

Option A: like a Kenyan, long and lithe or…

Option B: kind of like my bulldog ‘Flash’, absolutely gorgeous but just not 3 minute k material.

The thing with Fascia is it shortens on us over time and changes the way we move. So even the Ethiopian’s amongst us are not exempt from ‘Flash’ traits long term (Hopefully they only shorten and don’t start drooling too). The key is you can link into fascia. Collagen responds to two things,

  • Pressure
  • Time

So if you want to ‘Hack’ fascia it’s going to be a combination of pressure and time. Your inner Kenyan is in there and we do a lot of systematic fascial releases for runners but the good thing is you can do a lot yourself too

Second lock of muscles:

  1. Trigger Points

These things are crazy! You know the knots in your shoulders, they are trigger points but they are actually EVERYWHERE! Arms, legs, backs, shins, EVERYWHERE and they do strange things to us runners. They get tight and change mechanics which can be worse than getting a dodgy pair of shoes. Without you knowing they tighten, cause weakness, inhibit muscles, make muscles fatigue quicker AND THEN cause PAIN.

They are vicious, nasty, painful little @%*&@##@’s and they sneak up on you. They are the single most common cause of injury in running and they are a component of EVERY running injury there is.

The key is you want to understand and manage them rather than trigger points managing you. They make poor masters! Funny, after my hectic weekend putting the kids to bed, Abbie complained of growing pains. Poor love. But as mum’s you may not be aware that growing pains are trigger point related. Like father like daughter, good to know how to help though!

So your locks or causes of tightness are clear, trigger points and fascia. When you know this as a runner, knowledge is power.

Understand your locks to then understand your keys. They are just as specific and to run for life you want to use them.

Before I go wanted to give a shout out to your very own Jodie Obourne who we farewelled Friday for the Boston Marathon. Just a light training run before the 24hr Worlds in July!


Check out the blog next week for the ‘muscle hacks’ which will explain the key to unlocking those tight muscles!

Talk then RMA crew,


Paul Trevethan

BL Physio


Running Expert