Looking at improving your running and increasing your distance?
Then you have come to the right place!
Below are a series of short videos covering exercises to help you improve your running and the importance of excellent flexibility, mobility, and stability to prevent injury which will help you stay out on the road for longer.
Runfit #1 - Introduction
Running is one of the easiest and most popular ways to stay fit. It is also one of the easiest ways to develop injury. Running injuries are common and often affect the hips, knees, ankles and feet. The impact and stress of running is also sometimes hard on muscles and joints, especially if you ignore the early warning signs.
Accessing how you run is very important, from technique to lack of movement and control.
Runfit #2 - Front of Foot Range of Motion (ROM)
Why the big toe is a big part of running…
If you don’t take full advantage of your big toe’s designed use, you could have problems up on your legs.
The big toe is the equivalent of your core for the foot, problems with your big toe can cause a chain of issue further up the leg from plantar fasciitis to achilles, calf strain and more.
With limited range of motion, we lose the capacity to push-off and when muscles inside the foot don’t work correctly, they pass a ton of strain up into the lower leg, to tissues that aren’t designed to bear the load.
The big toe plays a big part in you being a fine-tuned running machine, so take care of it.
Runfit #3 - Soft Tissue Release to Increase ROM in the Big Toe
How to increase range of motion (ROM) in the big toe with a simple soft tissue release of the sole of the foot.
Runfit #4 - Active Stretch to Increase ROM in the Front of the Foot
Here we will take you through an active stretch of the plantar fascia and a muscle called the flexor hallucis longus to help you avoid injury and increase your running efficiency and potential mileage.
The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs along the sole of your foot from your heel to your toes. One of its main roles is to keep our bones and joints in position which enables us to push off from the ground, allowing us to maintain balance and control.
The flexor hallucis longus (FHL) is primarily responsible for bending the big toe which produces the last thrust of power through the foot during the toe-off stage of our gait. It assists us with pointing our foot and ankle down allowing us to rise up onto our toes while maintaining the arch of our foot.
It’s important that we take care of these muscles as they can pass a ton of strain up into the lower leg, to tissues that aren’t designed to bear the load, if not working correctly.
Runfit #5 - Ankle Joint ROM and its Effect on Your Running
One of the most common issues we see in our athletes is a lack of ankle mobility and more specifically, dorsiflexion range-of-motion.
The ability to pick the foot off the ground quickly lifting up onto the balls of our feet (dorsiflexion) and to apply force when it strikes the ground (plantarflexion) can increase speed and efficiency when running.
Your foot has many bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments which are all important for shock absorption when you run. Limited mobility will limit your foot and ankle’s ability to absorb shock. This leads to additional forces transmitted up the rest of your body including your knees, hips, and back.
Your pain may be in your knee or hip, but the cause of your pain may be your limited ankle mobility.
By increasing the range of motion in your ankle you could shave serious time off your current PBs.
Runfit #6 - Soft Tissue Release to Increase Ankle Range of Motion
How to increase range of motion (ROM) in the ankle with a simple soft tissue release of the back of the leg.
Runfit #7 - Active Stretch to Increase Ankle Range of Motion
Here we will take you through an active stretch of the calf, achilles and the gastrocnemius complex to help you avoid injury and increase your running efficiency and potential mileage.
The Gastrocnemius complex are the muscles typically thought of as the calf muscles and are the main sources of power for the motion of the ankle.
We use these muscles a lot when we run and it is very easy for them to get overworked and tight. When calf muscles get tight the ankle cannot move properly, especially in the motion of dorsiflexion, or bending the ankle to bring the toes up.
As we go through our running stride our body weight transitions over the ankle joint, creating natural dorsiflexion. This requires our calf muscles to lengthen, but if they are tight they cannot lengthen, therefore pulling on the achilles and putting you at risk of injury.
When we have tight calf muscles we move differently, sometimes just to avoid a motion that hurts, this can limit your foot and ankle’s ability to absorb shock and will lead to additional forces being transmitted up the rest of your body including your knees, hips, and back, so it’s important that we take care of these muscles.
Runfit #8 - The Importance of Hip Mobility and Range of Motion
Here we look at the range of motion in our hips and why these guys are the weakest link in many runners we see.
The challenge we have is we sit way too much in today’s modern world, causing our hip flexors to shorten and get tight and our glute muscles to weaken, restricting our ability to fully extend our hips. This is why the hips are the weakest link in majority of runners.
Our hips are designed to generate a lot of power and are used in every stride when walking, running, and sprinting.
Running optimally, involves driving the leg back from the hip, requiring full hip extension. Think of a slingshot the more we can get our hips into full extension like tension on a slingshot the more power we will have to propel ourselves forward, but if our hip flexors are tight it limits our ability to lift the knee causing our stride length to be shortened, and if these muscles are not working to their maximum potential then the muscles in our lower back will need to fire up to support.
So its important if we want to run faster that we have full extension of the hips, taking pressure off our back, knees and ankles.
Runfit #9 - Soft Tissue Relase of the Hip Flexor & Rectus Femoris
How to increase our range of motion (ROM) in the hips with a simple soft tissue release of the hip flexors and a muscle called the rectus femoris.
Runfit #10 - Active Stretch of the Hip Flexor and Rectus Femoris
Here we take you through an active stretch of the hip flexors to help improve your range of motion in the hips and to assist you in, increasing your running efficiency and potential mileage.
Running optimally, involves driving the leg back from the hip, requiring full hip extension. Allowing us to do this is a group of muscles known as our hip flexors, they allow us to lift and lower our legs. They have attachments to our, lumbar spine, pelvis and femur (thigh bone) and when tight they will tilt the pelvis forward placing pressure on our lower back, limiting our ability to lift the knee causing our stride to be shortened.
So it’s important if we want to run faster and increase mileage that we take care of these muscles by stretching regularly to keep them long, loose and supple. That way we wont pass a ton of strain up into tissues that aren’t designed to bear the load, if not working correctly.
Runfit #11 - Importance of Running Strength and Stability
Strength, stability and symmetry is commonly overlooked in many runners and could be the culprit behind your nagging injury, or what’s keeping you from finally nailing a new PB.
Runners have some of the highest incidences of injuries, and a lot of that has to do with not properly fixing muscular imbalances.
When we are not symmetrical, one part of our body may have to work harder than the other to compensate for weakness and ignoring these differences could be a recipe for injury. So, it’s important if we want to improve our running that we pay particular attention to our body.
Focusing on strengthening these weaknesses will improve our coordination and stability, allowing us to work more efficiently which in turn, will improve our running quality allowing us to run faster and train for longer reaching the results we want while reducing the risk of injury.