Pre-hab for Runners: Mobility

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You know you are a physical therapist when….I think about this phrase a lot. I have a lot of those moments when I think that to myself because of the way my train of thoughts were going. The other weekend when I was driving to the hospital for work, (at 5:30 am) I was going over my 10 mile long run that I had done the day before. The whole time I was driving I was assessing my gait during my run and the things that I needed to change and strengthen. I realized that I had a lot of hip adduction and medial knee collapse during my run. This then got me thinking about all the pre-hab exercises that runners should be doing to prevent some of the common injuries and to help keep them running stronger!


Pre-hab for Runners: Mobility

There are two main components to training, in addition to running, that you need to keep you healthy and strong for running. First, mobility and second strength. 


Again there are 2 factors that go into mobility for the body, stretching and myofascial release.

The goal of stretching is to increase the length of the muscle, or actually, to maintain it. But this is only half of the equation for mobility and making sure your joints and muscles are moving freely without restrictions for the strengthening portion. 

The second part of mobility is myofascial release. 

Myofascial release has been shown to increase joint range of motion with consistent performance. 

What this means is that stretching isn’t always enough, actually never is it enough. In order to truly increase your range of motion at a joint and therefore prevent injury you also need to make sure your muscles/tissues are moving well and not restricting the joint movement. 

You can’t just stretch because it will not break up tissue adhesions that form between the muscles (myo) and fascia (tissue surrounding the muscle). These adhesions are caused by repetitive use and stress/strain that is put on the muscles, as well as muscle imbalances. (more on that in part two next week).


How to increase mobility through self myofascial release

Great Abby, so now how the heck do I do self myofascial release? It is simple. 

Foam roll.

Runners should foam roll 5-6 key areas in their legs to help keep them loose and injury free. These include:

  1. Calves
  2. Hamstrings
  3. Glutes
  4. Piriformis
  5. Quads
  6. IT Band




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