The Importance of Mobility

Written by guest contributor, 2016 ambassador, Jen DeCurtains.

Hey guys! I’m Jen and I’m super excited to be an ambassador for the 2016 Novant Health Charlotte Marathon. I’m a local runner, personal trainer, yoga teacher and blogger. I share daily updates about food, fitness and yoga on my blog Peanut Butter Runner.

I ran my first half marathon 10 years ago and since then I have run quite a few halfs and two full marathons. This will be my third time running the Charlotte Half Marathon and I can’t wait to get out and there and see you all on race day!

11.15finishe2_edited

When I first started training for distance races, I found myself injured all the time. It was incredibly frustrating. The two things that made the biggest difference in overcoming the injury cycle were becoming stronger and increasing my mobility. I couldn’t agree with my fellow ambassador Aaron more on the importance of cross training!

In fact, I fell in love with cross training so much that I ended up becoming a BodyPump instructor, personal trainer, CrossFit coach and yoga teacher. And it all started with running!

Mobility work is often synonymous with stretching and yoga but there’s actually a ton of work you can do with a ball and a foam roller. In this post we’re starting from the ground and I’m teaching my favorite mobility technique for taking care of the feet.

2.16handstand

As a runner, your feet take quite a pounding…literally. Your feet are the first things that absorb the impact of the pavement and carry you through miles of running and hours spent standing up and walking around in your daily life. Yet, we rarely think about stretching out our feet and often tend to overlook the feet and focus on bigger muscle groups and body parts instead.

In the video below I demo how to roll out your feet using a ball. Rolling out your feet not only feels great (it’s like giving yourself an amazing foot massage) but it also helps to stretch and release tension in the feet, prevents injuries such plantar fasciitis and it improves hamstring flexibility! Yes, you read that right. Rolling your feet can help to loosen connective tissue that starts in your feet and runs throughout your entire body. I walk you through a simple flexibility test you can perform pre- and post-rolling to see for yourself the impact that rolling the feet has on the hamstrings.

This mobility technique is quick, easy and something you can do at home or at your desk with a golf ball, tennis ball or lacrosse ball. So grab a ball and get to rolling out those feet. You’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it for years!

I’ll be leading a free mobility clinic in August where I’ll teach participants how to roll out their whole body using a lacrosse ball as well as lead a short deep stretch session. Follow me on Facebook for dates and details! And if you’d like to practice yoga with me, you can find me at Y2 Yoga where I teach 10 classes every week.

Happy running (and happy stretching and strengthening!).

 

Stay tuned at the beginning of August for our next blog as we take you through the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon course!

During the month of August we want to celebrate how SOCIAL running is! Make sure to follow us on Facebook for a series of posts, stories & a chance to be a part of #oursocial