Best New Recovery Techniques When Training for a Marathon October 4th, 2016

"IT'S ALL IN THE HIPS"

We’ve all heard it, it’s a cliche at this stage but it’s true. Optimal hip mobility is a hugely important component to keeping your body functioning at it’s biomechanical best. When you break it down running is one repetitive movement carried out by your body over and over again. Toeing the line this autumn knowing you have strong healthy hips with full range of motion is going to greatly improve your performance and enjoyment of your race whether you are relatively new to running and taking on the challenge of your very first marathon or you’re a seasoned professional.

INJURY AND PREVENTION

Marathon training is intense it will take it’s toll on your body, I always say getting to the start line healthy is half the battle. How you recover on a daily basis through your training cycle will dictate how well you perform in your next training run. It’s not just the long runs, tempo runs or intervals that make your body ache and stiffen up restricting your joint mobility but just as much what you’re doing when you’re not logging miles and checking splits. Everyday life whether it be running errands, commuting, sitting at an office desk or simply relaxing watching a movie can cause your body to stiffen up, usually even more so after a hard days training.  When it comes to recovery ’resting’ simply isn’t enough, nutrition and hydration aside, the number one thing you can do is work on your mobility and flexibility after training and before you go for your next run. Trust me your body will be functioning better, you will rid aches and pains, feel stronger and more fluid in your stride.

Over the past few years primarily due to setbacks I have learned a lot about my body. RAD mobility tools have made a huge difference to my life from a recovery and injury prevention point of view, and greatly aided me in restoring my body to it’s best functional self. I only wish Dan & Mike had invented RAD Roller much much sooner! Working on trigger point release as a preparation exercise and recovery technique has become part of my daily routine as much as brushing my teeth. Wherever I go my RAD tools go, they are as much a part of my running kit as my running shoes.

Issues which can attribute to hip injury to watch out for are ankle mobility and pronation issues, leg length discrepancy, insufficient core and glute strength, muscle strength imbalances and poor posture. If you find you are persistently having hip issues or chronic back tightness book a visit to a well regarded physiotherapist for a full and thorough examination to evaluate your situation.

RAD TOOL RECOVERY TECHNIQUES

1. TFL (Tensor Fascia Latae) // RAD Helix

Method - Place your RAD Helix on the floor and locate and position your TFL directly on top of your Helix, allow yourself to ease your full body weight into the helix and roll gently back and forth while relaxing the leg which you are treating, inhale deeply and exhale deeply in a relaxed fashion in about of your belly as you push deeper into the tissue for maximum effect. If you find you are not getting quite enough relief from this, replace the Helix with the RAD Roller as it is a firmer tool and can push deeper into the tissue. Rotate between both tools until you feel relief.

2. GLUTES // RAD Rounds

Method - Lie flat on the floor, raise your hips so your glutes are off the floor and place the Rad Round beneath the tender or tight spots in your glutes, allow your full body weight to ease onto the the round, allowing it break down the knots and high areas, hold on a spot you feel needs release while controlling your breathing pattern while relaxing for 30 seconds and move onto the next tight area until you have covered all the areas and feel sufficient relief. Or if you need to go deeper sit on the round placing it to the outside of the glute and gently allow your body weight to sink into it gently rocking back and forth on the target area.

3. HAMSTRINGS // RAD Roller

Method - Whether you are at your desk at work or catching on emails this little trick works wonders, place the RAD Roller under the top of your hamstring and gently sink your weight right down on top of it as you sit on your chair as you sit at a 90 degree angle. Gently rock back and forth as you allow your weight to press down into the tight spots then move your RAD Roller little further down the hamstring, work through the hamstring in small movements up and down, for additional relief one you feel the muscles more supple try extending your lower leg fully as you let your weight press down on the RAD roller to help stretch the fascia. If you feel too tight wait until you feel more relief to try this.

4. HIP FLEXORS (Psoas + Iliacus) // RAD Rod

Method - This move I got a little creative with, it mimics how a physiotherapist would release your hip flexors by pressing deep into them while you lay on a plinth with their hands. The firmness of the RAD Rod is ideal and the length allows you to gain leverage and downward force to release deep tightness. Place one end of the rod on the tight area of your hip flexor and as you exhale as you control your breathing patterns press down  little deeper each time, do this three to four times on each area of tightness. For additional relate bring the leg you are treating toward your chest while keeping the opposite leg flat on the floor and as you exhale and press down with the Rod push your knee away from you until your leg is flat on the floor.

For best effect repeat these four RAD moves three to four times coinciding with proper groin, gluteal, hamstring and quadriceps stretches between each set and you should notice a great improvement in your hip mobility. Overall your legs will feel much fresher on your next training run as a result.

SUMMARY

The four techniques above are ways in which I utilised RAD tools to help me recover from and make hip injuries a thing of the past while improving my athletic performance. I hope you can benefit from them as much as I have and continue to and wish you the best of luck with your autumn marathon goals.