You see a lot of people running right now, I would argue more than in years past. This is great! Or is it?
Before starting with any movement practice there are two questions that must be asked
- Does this serve my purpose?
- Can I safely express this over time without increased risk of injury?
Do you know why you're doing fitness? How does running serve that purpose? Are we actively trying to increase aerobic capacity for a race or event? Cool, running is probably a good tool. Are you trying to blow off some steam? An easy run can be a good place for a mental reset, as long as we're not pushing our body into a stress response - which some people endearingly call a "runner's high." I personally always found it interesting that being "high" from fitness is held in high regards but when the same state is achieved with other exogenous substances it is frowned upon. A runner's high is your body in overdrive, and it is definitely not a healthy way to deal with stressful situations.
Do we have the ability to stay upright, bracing through the hips and core? Is there ample ankle range of motion to allow for an efficient and soft stride? As we even side-to-side? These are just a couple pieces we want to look at before starting into a running program. An inability to brace and extend the is likely to lead to low back pain and exacerbated hip conditions, especially if one side is tighter than the other. If we are dealing with stiff ankles from years of sitting, this can hamper our ability to absorb impact and cause knee pain and degenerative conditions leading up the chain to the hips and low back. If there is one ankle tighter than the other, it is likely we'll see an uneven stride, leading to discomfort.
So, Just Stretch More?
Almost. While a good flexibility practice is great, that is only passive range of motion. We want to increase mobility - active range of motion. How do we achieve this? Resistance training! Using tempo training (lifting slow) we can increase the mind-muscle connection and help our connective tissue to restore and strengthen.
I wish I could give you more remedies in this post but just as only you can decide whether running fits your purpose, the solution to movement imbalances is largely individualized. Once we take you through a movement assessment we will have a better idea as to which movements are beneficial to you now, and how we can train to have the ability to safely express others.