5 More Takeaways about Mobility

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Mobility is a huge topic, and this post isn’t even an introductory post. I just wanted to share some of my takeaways from the most recent mobility course I took (you’ll fine my #1 takeaway at this post here). I hope you find something useful here!

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I am sharing a more about mobility — something every runner can use!

1: Roll fast before running
Rolling fast helps prep the body for movement. This is something I used to do in when I first started to foam roll, then I learned that you needed to roll slow and for a longer period of time — or so I thought.

Before a run, roll fast and for a short amount of time. If you have a vibrating roller/ball, now is the time to have it on medium or high (depending on what you can tolerate).

2: Roll slow for recovery
Rolling slow does have its place: after your run. This will help you kick start the recovery response.

If you have a vibrating roller/ball, now is the time to have it on low.

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Start with the larger balls; slowly move down to the smaller balls

3: The smaller the tool, the deeper it goes
A wider tool (think foam roller) will not give you as much pressure as a narrower tool (a ball). If you’re new to foam rolling, start with a roller, for sure. Even that may be too much if you’re not used to it. 

If you’re feeling a lot of pain, back off. You should feel some sensation, but not pain.

As you get used to myofascial release techniques, you may want to consider moving from a foam roller to a ball — although start with a larger one; maybe even a softer one. Your body will adapt to whatever you use eventually, but if it really feels painful to you, not only are you not helping yourself — you’re unlikely to be consistent.

You may try moving from a larger ball to smaller and smaller balls as you get used to the pressure.

4: Add in some Functional Mobility
Often when we feel pain somewhere, it’s because the opposite muscle is weak. Adding in some functional mobility during foam rolling can really help.

Tight calves? Foam roll the calves, stop at one point, and point and flex your foot. You can also try moving it from side to side. Notice what muscles you feel that movement in.

Rolling the quads? Stop, and bend and extend the leg you’re rolling.

5: Foam Rolling can actually help our proprieception
First, what is proprieception? The dictionary says proprieception is:

perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body

As a runner, I’m sure you can see why this might be important. I can tell you from a Yoga teacher standpoint, we often get into a posture and think our leg is way higher than it actually is, or straighter than it actually is. Try videoing or photographing yourself and you might be really surprised at what you see!

I was definitely surprised to see improved proprieception as one of the benefits of foam rolling!

Final Thoughts
Although I’d like to call myself an expert on mobility, I am not. I have learned quite a bit about it in the last few months, though, and I practice what I preach. I experiment, and if it helps me, I share it.

We are all an experiment of one. So give some of these things a try, if they pique your interest, and I hope that you find it helpful.

Did you learn something new about foam rolling?

Are you willing to try to change up what you’re already doing? 

What do you do to work on your mobility?

My #1 Takeaway from Mobility Courses

Could you be foam rolling all wrong — and for the wrong reasons? Maybe! I’ve taken several mobility and self myofascial release courses over the last year (and am eyeing yet another one!).

Today I’m sharing my biggest takeaway that I heard at pretty much all of these courses.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional or physical therapist. I can’t diagnose what may be wrong with you. Always check with a doctor first.

It’s not about ironing out our fascia
Back in the day when I started foam rolling, I was taught that it basically takes our jumbled fascia (which creates pain and stiffness) and irons it out, so to speak, so that all those jumbled fibers are more organized.

Turns out that’s not really what foam rolling does.

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Myofascial release is more about the neuromuscular connection | Photo by Harry Cooke on Pexels.com

It’s all in your head
Maybe not all, but like most things running, the truth is it’s often not so much a body limitation, but a neuromuscular protection mechanism.

You know how when you’re doing a long run, and you feel tired towards the end? A lot of that is actually coming from your brain — it’s trying to protect you from injuring yourself, and slowing down is a great way to potentially protect from injury.

Your nervous system acts the same way to protect your connective tissue. It can send you pain to basically get you to stop whatever it is you are doing that it perceives as a threat.

Your nervous system basically says stop yourself! (by triggering pain) before you wreck yourself (injure yourself).

Foam rolling basically tells your brain that oh! it’s okay to feel that pressure. You can tolerate that pressure; it’s not a threat.

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Do you really need to roll at all?
I’ve shared my foot compression routine. The problem with rolling is you generally don’t get as deep pressure as you do by simply putting pressure on the foot (or wherever else you usually roll).

It also takes sustained pressure to get into your nervous system — without those longer holds, your nervous system doesn’t have time to calm down and realize that this sort of pressure isn’t a threat after all.

Can rolling hurt you? Well, yes, it can, but only if it’s done improperly (rolling on bones, over new scars, if you have a serious illness). In general you can foam roll to your hearts’ content — but you may not get the results you’re after.

If done properly foam rolling will not hurt you. It just may not actually heal you.

Should I just throw out my foam roller?
Nooooo! Foam rolling is very beneficial at certain times. That’s another thing I learned — when and how to foam roll — but that’s a post for another day.

Let’s end with a little experiment. I want you to roll your left foot. Do it however you normally do it. Walk around. Notice the difference between your left and right feet.

Next try simply draping your foot over the same ball you used with your right foot. In front of the fat pad on your heel on the inside and the outside. Then just below the ball of the foot, on the inside and outside of your foot. Hold for at least 90 seconds in each location.

Walk around again.

Which foot feels better? 

What else do you notice about your feet after doing this? 

Have you gotten results with foam rolling? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Warmer days are ahead!: 2/22 – 28 WRD

Wednesday had a high of 50F! Perfect running weather. I went to visit my mom; I got to enjoy the warmer weather on my hike there, but there was no time to run. I notice how much more birdsong there is these days, and the days staying light longer. Spring takes a long time to come up here, but every little sign of it is encouraging.

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I’m joining Kim @ Kimrunsonthefly and Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner, and easing slowly back into running and strength training.

Workouts update

  • Monday: Yoga (30 min), PB ST (15 min), Dogwalk
  • Tuesday: Yoga (20 min), 2.75 TM, SB 4.45 mile (15 min), Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Wednesday: Yoga (20 min), 2 mile hike Olana, Yoga (20 min)
  • Thursday: Yoga (20 min), Dogwalk
  • Friday: Yoga (20 min), 5 mile LSD, Yoga (20 min)
  • Saturday: Yoga (20 min), PB ST (10 min), 13ish miles SB while taking the mobiliy course
  • Sunday: Yoga (20 min), 3 miles easy, Yoga (20 min)

Running Mileage: 10.75 (+1.25)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Update

Tuesday Intention: go the distance
I gave serious consideration to skipping this run altogether. I woke up feeling tired. I was going to run outside — maybe I could have — but we’d had a bit of snow overnight, running in the afternoon when it would be clearer wasn’t an option, and quite frankly even though it was a warmer day, I wasn’t feeling it. I decided to run on the treadmill — an endurance run (steady pace) — and just keep the pace conservative. I survived.

Even after some warmer weather—still a ways to go. With rain in the forecast for this weekend we should see less & less of the white stuff.

Friday Intention: increase distance, keep pace easy
Mission accomplished! 5 miles that felt surprisingly good. Mostly consistent and the last mile was the fastest. I only look at my watch to see when miles are coming up; I drink some water each mile. So I have no idea how fast I’m running most of the time. No side stitches!

Our side of the street doesn’t get a lot of sun. I’m be other side you see grass!

Sunday Intention: take it easy, enjoy those warmer temps
It was almost 40F by the time I finished my run. No wind; sadly no sun either. A relatively easy 3 miles, meeting my intention.

Forgot about the photo until they were almost gone! They taste much better than they look in this photo.

Favorites of the week
I took some of my starter out of the fridge to reactivate, with the intention of making more bread. It was a busy week and I knew I just didn’t have the time to make bread — Friday I had my long-ish run, and Saturday I had an online class all day. So I decided to make some more pancakes. Apparently you can never have too many pancakes. They seemed to fuel 5 miles quite well.

Learned a lot about mobility & self myofascial release yesterday. It will make its way to the blog eventually.

I will definitely be changing up some of my foam rolling with what I learned in yesterday’s class. I’ll share a lot of what I learned, but it’s going to take a little time to digest all that information. The vibrating ball (in front) might just be my new bestie.

Bandit kept me company for almost the whole class (roughly 6 hours).

Over tea next Friday I  talk about Bandit & snuggling. I’ve noticed a decline since it’s been warming up, but he hung out with me during my class almost the entire time. Hard work, but a dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do.

What are the little Spring approaching signs you’ve noticed?

Spring racing plans? Nothing for me, not yet anyway.

Have you tried a vibrating massage tool/foam roller? Yes, they make vibrating foam rollers. That might be next on my list.GWY Manifest Your Dream Meditation

ICYMI: A short, moving mediation. This will help you push away the fear and bring in the things you want in your life. You’ll find the video here. On the other blog I explain Oracle cards, how to use them, and a few options to consider here.

Coming up on Tuesday: Thoughts on the run — outside and inside. Friday I’m grabbing some hot chocolate and getting together with you virtually to share what’s going on in my life — and I promise to listen to what’s going on in yours, too.