Caught up with a friend of mine, Pat Nispel this week who has his eyes on the Berlin marathon. Talking about speed and racing and one of the things we chatted about was how to prepare your body before a race. We know that warmups and dynamic stretches are the best strategy but one of the things that very few runners know is how to firstly check your body from a tightness perspective and then get it straight, even and ready to go in just a couple of minutes.
One of the little known facts of the human body is that it changes ALL the time. Most runners just take what they get body wise and run with it! I am always identifying deficiencies in mechanics and targeting them for running better and better. When you start to understand tightness and particularly how muscles behave you know that trigger points and tension shift and change. For most people this just happens and you are at the whim of these subtleties. Problem is all you have to do is sleep in a funny position or get cooped up in a car for a couple of hours and muscles will shorten on you. Before a race that can be a bit of a disaster because you want to be long, symmetrical and straight leading into any race.
So one of the biggest secrets with length is that movement is an awesome way of lengthening and straightening a body before you run. I get all my runners to use movement the morning of the race. Basically what you do is lye down and check the contacts between your body and the surface you are lying on. Check the weight of your head, check where your shoulders are touching left and right. Where are they ridgey and hard, where are they more flat and flush. Are they the same left to right or is one side flatter? Then go to your back. Be aware of where it is in contact. What is the small of the back like? Is it raised more on one side than the other. This gives you a picture of how your back is. Again one side might be flatter or you might be even, if so where is the small of the back touching the ground, where is it lifted off? Remember your contact points because it is your reference.
Then you can bend one leg up and start using movement across your body, slow and smooth. In the video I show you how to do it. Try it because most of you will notice you flatten out on the side you move. That flatter more in contact feeling is a longer straighter body. Then you can do the other side.
This is what we get our elite runners to do before and after every long run because it is a way of checking yourself and standardising length for performance. It transfers into longer hip flexors for upright technique and supple movement with every part of your body doing it’s own special role.
Bet you love this one guys,