With delight, I remember a conversation I had with a gentleman in downtown LA years ago. You see, at the time I was a corporate banker, and I was running late for a meeting. I came bounding towards the elevator in hopes of catching that particular elevator. I was certain that I couldn't afford to wait for the next elevator or the return of that one!
He smiled and asked me if I was a runner. I told him, "Yes!" though admittedly, I was curious and wanted to know what made him think I was a runner. At the time, I was running, "do or die," every day - and so he had "caught me"! In fact, at that time, I was working on a goal to run in every state of the United States.
The gentleman told me that he could tell that I was a runner because I had a bounce to my stride.
Hmm. At the time, I was intrigued, but his comment didn't mean that much to me. Yet, thanks to my studies and practice in orthopedic massage, I have learned more about the importance of that bounce.
"Stride Bounce" is a definitive sign of a healthy hip capsule
If your hip capsule is healthy, the ball atop your leg bone is held in place by your muscles and connective tissue (i.e. the muscle tendons).
If the connective tissue is healthy and happy, so to speak, it has an elastic quality which, when complemented by flexible muscle tissue, allows the ball of your leg bone to "bounce" within your hip capsule.
In other words, when healthy, the connective tissue attachments to the bone will "give" with your foot strike and allow you to "go forward" more comfortably - with a seeming bounce to your foot strike.
In contrast, if you tend to
- run on the edge of your foot, rather than its full width, or
- run with a locked ankle
your body will “try to be there for you,” even though you’ve sacrificed good muscle mechanics, and will effectively lock your hip in place to accommodate your poor mechanics…and your hip will be compacted.
PS One way to tell if this is your habit - notice what sound your foot makes when it makes contact with the ground. If you hear your
- foot slap or if you experience your
- foot seemingly pound the ground,
your hip capsule has likely lost the elasticity of your connective tissue and you will be experience a compacted hip. If you continue with a compacted hip, you will experience, among other things:
- back pain and
- a reduction in the years that you'll be able to run for sport.
And you will lose the bounce of your hip capsule.
Unfortunately, there are other movement habits that we "take on" that ultimately cause running pain and discomfort. The following lists the top challenges that we'll explore during our sessions at The Mind Body Whisperer:
- Heel strike - A heel strike-based stride increases the likelihood of injury by 50%
- Running with an out-turned foot - which once again results in a compacted hip
- Restricted foot mobility - which increases the likelihood of plantar fasciitis
- Unbalanced hams & quads - which throws your stride strength and balance
- IT Band Domination - if your stride relies on your IT Band, we'll check your stride firing order, glute involvement, as well as the possibility of your leg's tendency to external rotation.
The Advantage to The Mind Body Whisperer Massage Method
Optimizing Your Run is about more than a relaxing massage. The Mind Body Whisperer Massage is all about the process of working with you to understand your current movement habits - which often involve compromised muscle mechanics (CMMs) - and to creating a pathway so that you can shift to your optimal muscle mechanics so that you can Run Strong and Pain Free!
Helping You Regain Optimal Running Form is a TMBW Massage Advantage
Running form is critical to running pain free and long term. One of the images that still haunts me is from a marathon event - I was working in the massage tent.
A gentleman that finished the marathon - which was certainly worthy of celebration - barely made it to my massage table. Because of his compromised muscle mechanics, his whole body was cramped and his stride had been reduced to a short-clunky-shuffle-stride - he only had a 1/2 inch stride step, at best.
At the heart of his difficulty was compromised muscle mechanics and poor form - largely from running with an out-turned foot and restrictive ankle range of motion.
During our sessions at The Mind Body Whisperer, we will work together to assure that you regain optimal muscle mechanics and the ability to Run Strong and with a Bounce to Your Stride!
You can also find me at TMBW.Massage@gmail.com
I look forward to working with you and to helping you Optimize Your Run!
The Mind Body Whisperer
- Dedicated to Helping You Get Optimized for Your Favorite Sport and Pain-Free Living!
Click here to check out the Top 4 Reasons that a TMBW Massage will Help You Run Strong and Your Final Kick Count!