In May, I gave a lecture and participatory demonstration for the San Francisco Road Runners Club. This brief demo focused on Injury prevention. Specifically, we focused on Pre-Run Mobilization and Alignment Exercises (not stretching!!), and post-run self-fascial release. The Pre-run exercises are great to add to your routine or as a stand alone warm-up. The post-run Self-fascial release exercises are great for anyone who wants more freedom in their foot and ankle. Here are the exercises I created for this group, keep in mind much more is possible...
Pre-Run Mobilizations and Alignment Exercises
1) Mobilizing the Foot
a. In a seated position lay your foot on your thigh. Place the fingers of one hand along the bone connected to your big toe. Place your opposite hand on the adjacent toe. Work the bones back and forth against each other, following the bones all the way to their connection to the heel. Work all the tarsal bones this way.
b. Grab hold of your big toe and pull gently while you take it in slow gentle circles. Be sure to circle both directions.
c. Place as many fingers as you can in between your toes and take the foot in wide gentle circles, both directions.
d. Repeat with other foot.
2) Mobilizing the Ankle
a. Lay on your back with your knees up and feet flat on the ground. Lift one leg off the ground keeping knee bent. Take ankle in slow gentle circles; both directions.
b. Return foot/ankle to neutral. Spread your toes out and back as you reach down to pick up an imaginary pencil. Scoop up pencil and hold tightly as you bring foot back. Release pencil at top of movement. Repeat in continuous motion.
3) Aligning the lower leg
a. From standing, bring one thigh parallel to ground. Incorporating the same foot/ankle movement from before, make large, slow relaxed circles with the leg. Reverse directions (including the foot and ankle). Be sure to keep all joints aligned, foot/ankle always parallel to the ground.
b. Repeat on other side.
Post-Run Self Fascial Release
1) Freeing the Plantar Fascia
a. In a seated position lay your left foot on your thigh. With your left foot gently draw your toes back. Place the knuckle(s) of your right hand just under the 1st joint of the big toe. Making as deep contact as you can comfortably maintain, take the tissue down, stopping at your heel. Continue working the rest of your foot making at drawing the tissue down in at least 3 separate places.
2) Freeing the Lateral Longitudinal Arch
a. Reach the fingers of your right hand to the bottom of the metatarsal bone of your pinky toe. Drag the tissue down to your heel. Repeat
3) Freeing the Distal Transverse Arch
a. With the knuckle(s) of your right hand, take the tissue just below the tarsal bones transversely; from the big toe side to the pinky toe side and back.
4) Freeing the Dorsal Fascia
a. On the top of the foot sink your fingers in between your tarsal bones and wait for them to release.
b. Sink your fingers in between your toes and drag the tissue towards your heel.
5) Freeing the Ankle Retinaculum
a. Place your foot flat on the ground. Take all of your fingers and draw the tissue of the top of your foot back towards and over your heel as your bend your ankle up and down. It should feel like you’re drawing a sock up over your foot. You may also use static pressure and the movement of your ankle to release the tissue.