Exercising to exercise

Carys learns the importance of exercising to run as she continues her injury rehab and starts building up the miles.

Wednesday, 5 September, 2012

As I reported in last month’s blog, my biomechanics assessment by SixPhysio revealed that I have weak glutes and a dominant right leg. Since then I have been dutifully following an exercise programme to strengthen any weaknesses and improve flexibility in my hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. I’ve also been foam rolling my thighs and ITB into oblivion and ‘treating’ myself to a monthly sports massage to release any tightness and improve muscle recovery.  The good news is its working! OK, I still can’t quite do the splits (and probably never will), but my legs are definitely feeling stronger and my body more balanced. I’m also back running regularly again, which is such a great feeling as I have missed running so much. One of the key areas Kelly from SixPhysio said I needed to work on was my posture - as it resembled a slight question mark shape – known as an anterior pelvic tilt.   Apparently, tight hip flexors, quads and years of deskwork are partly to blame, as sitting all day can cause important muscles needed for running to shorten. For example; if the hip flexors are too tight they can pull the hips out of its neutral alignment – which can open the door to all sorts of injuries for a runner – as I’ve discovered first hand.   While my posture isn’t yet perfect (and doubt it will ever be that of a ballet dancer!), I was really pleased when my follow-up appointment with Kelly revealed that I had made progress in this area. I’ve been making an effort to stand-up tall (at 5 foot I can’t afford to slouch!) by pretending I’ve got a string pulling me upwards, which has reduced the achy feeling I used to get in my back after a long run. My legs are also getting stronger.   There is still more work to be done – my hips continue to wobble a bit when I run and I still stick my bum out a bit (not a great look when wearing lycra) however, it is satisfying to at last see results and not have any pain when I run – or walk for that matter! 

Exercising to run

 Since starting work on a running magazine, I have come to appreciate how important exercising to run is, in order to prevent injuries and improve efficiency. By that I mean working on core stability, strength and flexibility – basically what I like to call the ‘boring gym stuff’. All these exercise drills can easily be carried out at home and Men's Running publishes a new set of exercises each month.  I’m off on holiday next week, but will be packing my trainers as I have to continue my exercises and running training, as I am working to get in race shape for the Helly Hansen Beauty and the Beast, the Royal Parks Half and the New York City Marathon. Eck! However, this seems nothing in comparison to the four MR blokes running ultra marathons this coming Autumn. You can also read their blogs here.    

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