Hey RMA crew!
This year is flying by! I had a massive weekend just gone. Headed to Endeavour 500 which is an awesome relay event to raise money for the disabled. Three days, five hundred kilometres, eighteen teams and up to 47 degree temperatures made for a fun and exhausting time. I can see an RMA team there in the near future…would be very cool guys!!
I was doing the physio as well as running which was kind of tricky and over the weekend you do spend a fair bit of time travelling in the bus so it made me think about hip flexors and how you look after them for running. Hip flexors are crazy muscles. They kind of get ignored a fair bit. Practitioners even forget to release them but they are a real key for improving your running. They are important for a couple of reasons, firstly they sit on your centre of gravity. If they get tight they will pull you forward subtly. This means instead of being able to lean from ankles and initiate your movement from belly button level or even slightly higher, you will bend a little from the hips and all of a sudden you are locked into shorter levers. Kind of like shortening your legs by a couple of inches, you will run slower and spend more energy doing it. My legs are short enough!
On the flip side, by working on hip flexor length and practicing being upright and initiating movement higher in the body you will run faster with less energy. Sounds like the holy grail of running and it can be. This is one of the ways Will Wragg used to complete his 50 marathons in 50 days. So how do you target hip flexors for running? There are a few ways and firstly you want to look at how to stretch them. You can do a half push up type of stretch through middle then left and right. No hip flexor stretch routine is complete without looking at lunge type of stretches, make sure hips are square and you can use your hands to push butt down and pull up through the pubic bone at the front.
You can also target trigger points leading into hip flexors. I use these as prep for races as well as for recovery after. I get the little nasty points on the wing of hips with a reflex ball but you can do them with hands as well. Another strategy for hip flexors is to use pure movement. One of the little know secrets for lengthening muscles without any stretching or straining whatsoever where you lie on your back and use slow movement to straighten out the body, it really works! This is a really cool one for those that want to leave no stone unturned to get the best out of the body for running long term.
Good luck with these guys. Remember comfy at all times and if you have any injury or condition check with doc before starting any program. Also big congrats to Running Mum Johanna Skinner who just completed her 11th marathon for the year. She is doing her own charity, Project 36. Twelve marathons in twelve months for twelve different charities while working full time and raising a family. Very inspiring! Good luck for all your runs this weekend people! Talk next week.