I just spent the last two hours learning what is tight and weak in my body and what the heck is exactly going on with my body when I run. It was actually very informative and very helpful. Those two hours were way better spent than the two hours I spent at the doctor last week.
Today I went to see John Stiner from Stiner Massage. I found him through an article I read in Running Times and it just so happens that he’s worked on a few of the elites: Kara Goucher and Galen Rupp to name a couple. To be clear, although John is a massage therpaist, the two hours were anything but your typical day at the spa. In fact, those two hours were intense, painful, and a far cry from relaxing. Probably the exact thing any injured runner is looking for.
We spent the first 90 minutes doing a lot of twisting, pulling, and stretching. However, the last 30 minutes I found to be the most helpful. After an hour and a half of being stretched into oblivion, I was told to walk, jog a little and stand still. Well that was the key to my runner’s injury hell hole that I often times find myself in.
Problem one: I have lower cross syndrome. In other words, I stick my butt out. My pelvis should be in a straight line with my shoulders and upper body. It’s not. I have an anterior pelvic tilt. Check out this video for a little more info.
Problem two: My hips go one way and my back goes another. I’ve always been able to feel this but it’s been hard to pinpoint why I do this.
Problem three: My glutes are always engaged. Instead of using my lower ab muscles to pull my pelvis in, I use my glutes to power everything. The other massage therapist I’ve been to see several times even told me he wrote in his notes holy s***, those are the tightest glute muscles I’ve ever seen. I think it stems from the fact I use to be a dancer and we were always told to squeeze our glutes like we had a penny we didn’t want to drop. I haven’t dropped that penny yet. 😉
We did a few exercises and I immediately was able to tell how I used my glutes instead of my lower abs. For example, when I did the bridge exercise, I was using my glutes, not my lower abs. As soon as I started focusing on engaging my lower abs, it was hard to go back to using my glutes. Muscle memory is awesome.
So how do I fix my problems? First, I have to focus on shortening the distance between my pelvis and my rib cage. I have to practice pulling my pelvis in. Second, I have to open up my shoulders. I let my shoulders roll in and that is no good for running. Apparently I also have inflexible ankles due to the fact I run more on the balls of my foot. Therefore, I have to practice pulling my toes towards my shins. Then of course there are the stretches I need to do to open up my lower back and hip flexor.
Driving home tonight was actually quite entertaining. I barely remember the drive because I was too busy focusing on pulling my pelvis in, stretching my toes to my shins (cruise control helped with this), and doing this neck exercise to help with my spine. I probably looked really silly to anybody driving beside me. Oh well, anything to help an injured runner. 🙂
It really helps to have someone tell me what I’m doing when I run and it’s so incredibly amazing how every part in the body affects another. Now I’m off to stretch my ankles and work on my pelvis…. I miss running so much. 😦
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Recovery Update: Hip/Leg still feel off. I wasn’t able to go to the gym because of work and my massage appointment but I will definitely be there tomorrow. I feel so gluttonous for eating all this food and not working out.