We are getting into peak marathon season! Our long-time friend Erin Taylor of Athletes for Yoga has put together a super helpful guide to mitigate those marathon problems, along with simple and time-efficient moves to address pain-points and keep you running!
Marathoners have problems. Even more problems than constantly signing up for an event that literally killed its first participant (!!). Imbalance can unravel even the best training block, and marathoners know all too well that riding the line between fit and frazzled becomes thinner and thinner as peak week approaches.
Athletes for Yoga has set up a great video collection to solve your marathoner problems from weak glutes to plantar fasciitis. Here are three of the top marathon problems from weak glutes to plantar fasciitis.
PROBLEM: WEAK GLUTES
No surprise there! Weak glutes — specifically, sleepy glute max — is at the root of some of the most prevalent and avoidable chain reaction imbalances.
Weak glutes and tight hammies are often connected because of your posterior chain. If you’re a runner who’s seen a good PT, you’ve likely heard about the posterior chain. The muscles should activate sequentially to optimize your stride: core stabilizers, glutes, hammies. But in runners, it often goes… hammies, quads, umm, calves… help! When your stride (for miles and miles) relies on what should be assistant muscles rather than the bosses of your stability and push-off, it can lead to all kinds of compensation pain and injuries. Glute Solutions
PROBLEM: TIGHT HAMMIES
Hamstrings often become tight, dry, and stuck together due to weak glutes (forcing these supporting muscles to compensate and do more work than they’re engineered for) and honestly, because we sit. A lot.
That combined with the fact that common stretching tactics like being hyper-focused on touching the ground with straight legs, or throwing your leg up and yanking on those tissues with a strap are more likely to injure your hamstrings than increase the flexibility and fluidity needed for optimal function — and running.
Let’s unstiffen those hammies! And guess what? It doesn't matter if you EVER touch your toes.
PROBLEM: HIP IMBALANCE
Marathoner problem number three is definitely hip imbalances. 27% of marathoners who answered our survey reported piriformis pain. Others reported weak hips, hip pain, and tight hips.
Hips are complex, running-critical joints. And no, you’re not imagining it, your hips can be tight and weak at the same time. Similar to tight hammies, common culprits include the fact that most of our motion is forward, not lateral (side to side) or rotational, and we sit all the time. It’s a lethal combo that hinders flexibility and strength and leads to imbalance.
Athletes say to us “I need to open my hips” all the time. But what does that even mean? First become aware of where your hips need opening — your unique mobility limitations —with a simple self-test to arm you with valuable info to inform your mobility work and get the most out of it. Test and solutions here.