Runners need to be constantly aware of their bodies. In particular, these high-impact athletes need to watch how their bodies adapt to extra mileage and its effect on their biomechanical chain.
Pain is serious. Fighting through the pain doesn’t make athletes tougher. It may actually set them back. Hip mobility is crucial for running, so it’s important to assess hip tightness regularly, even keeping a diary of the degree each leg can passively move through. (Learn how to Increase Your Hip Mobility With These Routines.)
If you’re experiencing discomfort down the leg or in the heel, it could stem from your hips. Ask your sports medicine staff for help.
Four Pre- or Post-Run Exercises
- Lie on your side with your torso and pelvis perpendicular to the ground.
- Straighten your spine.
- Squeeze your glutes tight, like you have a quarter stuck between your butt cheeks.
- With one foot resting on the other, lift only your knee up until it is level with your hip.
- Lower your knee down, keeping your glutes contracted the entire time.
Side-Lying Hip Bridge
- Lie on your side.
- Push your bottom foot into the ground so that your entire body rises off the floor.
- Keep your spine stable.
Side-Lying Hip Adduction
- Lie on your side with the top leg up on a Swiss ball, chair, or bench.
- Pull your bottom leg toward the midline of your body.
- Your entire bottom leg should rise up off the floor.
- Make sure your spine stays straight and stable.
Lunge or Split-Squat
- Put your back foot on a bench or in a suspension trainer.
- Keep your knee over your ankle maintaining a vertical shin angle.
- For additional resistance, add kettlebells, dumbbells or a weighted vest.
Editor’s Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here.