Running Injuries-Flexibility

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 25,850
    Running Form Expert Danny Abshire discusses the importance of flexibilty.

    Danny Abshire: Hello! My name is Danny Abshire and we are here in Boulder, Colorado. I am with Newton Running Company. I have been a running coach for 15 years focusing mainly on helping athletes with their running form and that definitely curtails a lot of running injuries that you are going to achieve as a runner or have as a runner, if you focus on this light touch that we talked about and this ability to sense the ground and get off the ground, so this is dividing. So with all that in mind, we need to also have the ability to move in this fashion.

    So lets say, for instance, if your calf muscle is tight and you dont have the ability to land parallel to the ground, you will lift your foot with your anterior tibialis, the muscles on the front of the ankle and front of the shin, as opposed to the calf muscles. So if you run through your tight muscle and you overcompensate, you will cause an injury to that area or you will cause another injury by overcompensation. So overcompensation of using tight muscles will get you into a lot of injury.

    One of the first things you want to do is recognize your muscle density. If you have very dense muscles, they are very tight chronically, that is kind of something that can be bad and you need to make sure your hydration and nutrition is right on with that. If thats so and thats just a hereditary thing you have this dense muscle mass, you need to -- massage is typically better. So if you can get a massage and get that often for the denser muscles, that works the best. You also need to try to maintain that with some minimal stretching or some massage tools that we will talk about in just a moment.

    Now again, if your hamstrings are tight; and thats a chronic injury for a lot of runners, if your hamstrings are tight, you have been sitting at a desk all day or might be a triathlete and you are sitting on a bike all day, think about the opposite side of those muscles. So a high hamstring problem, if its formulated could come from heel striking and pushing off too hard. So that massive breaking with the leg extended and then pushing off too hard using that propulsive muscle. But if you are sitting all day and you are on your bike a lot, note that it could be coming from tight hip flexors and tight quads, when they are contracted on the front side you are going to chronically pull the backside or the hamstring.

    So a lot of times look at the opposite side of the injury and make sure that you dont have compensation going on. Because it's not only just the tight or problem muscle, it could be on the opposite side that you need to work. So work both sides and work all the muscle groups. So if you understand the density or flexibility that you have, you need to always address tightnesses. So if you have that chronic tight calf, dont ignore it. You will overcome the state and hurt yourself. Dont ignore the chronic tight hamstring, dont ignore it. Address it and address it through a massage, address it through massage tools. You can use the stick, you can use IT band roller. If you are tightening IT band in the hips, which is a foam roller you just lay down on and work that out, its a type of self-massage tool. You can do yoga to maintain your flexibility. And then just simply doing the regime of overall body stretching, which are several, the calf stretch, the hamstring stretch, also your shoulders and back, basic stretches, that you can do before running and after running.

    Most of the times we find that stretching and using these massage tools are good at night. Maybe an hour, an half and a half before you go to bed, if you do a stretching routine, that increases circulation to these muscles to flush out some of the lactic acid. And also, if you go to sleep very tight, you will probably wake up tighter. If you go to bed with some flexibility, you will wake up with that flexibility. So make sure muscles feed up with hydration as well, making sure that you are well hydrated and your electrolytes are proper as well.

    So these are some of the basic things, you just dont ignore a good range of motions. So make sure your quads are loose, make sure your hip flexors are loose, make sure your hamstrings and calves are taken care of, and your anterior tibialis almost on the other side of that other calf. So with that in mind, just listen to your body and try to stay relaxed because if you are running more relaxed and the muscles are less dense, you will have better performance, you will recover quicker. That combined with the running form and understanding your mechanics goes a long way. So now we are going to talk about training tips for injury prevention and thank you very much.