Last weekend saw me attend a Functional Movement Screening session organised by Brian Scobie (my England Athletics Endurance Coach Mentor) and the Local Coach Development Programme (LCDP).
This was aimed to get endurance coaches think about screening for the athletes they coach, what to look for, and where to go for more advice and expert opinion/help etc. For me however, this was even more useful…
Over the last few months I’ve been in training for the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. As is often the way, when you load up your legs with miles things get a little strained and tight. Those who know me will know that I am one of those runners who is naturally wound tight and, even as a child I’ve never been gifted with the ability to touch my toes.
This wasn’t a problem for me ’til I ran the Major Stone Half-Marathon in early September. The run was going great, I was tracking on nicely doing 07:10/mi pace, feeling OK then, OUCH, mid-run the hamstring started to tighten up and become quite painful. Since then it’s been a battle to get any long runs in, and I’ve had a constant struggle with left ankle stiffness caused by shifting my weight when I run and walk.
The day before the FMS session I was at my local physio who was somewhat alarmed at my inability to dorsal flex my feet and was somewhat worried for my chances at the up and coming marathon. I went away from that appointment feeling a little dejected and concerned that my marathon dream was over for this year. However the FMS session was led by Graeme Everard from the Coach House Sports Physiotherapy Clinic. For those that don’t know, Graeme and his team work with many elite athletes and are one of the ‘preferred’ clinics of England Athletics. Perfect I thought, a chance to get a little extra advice from a well respected physiotherapist, so I went about picking his brains and gaining advice.
The long and short of it all is, the root of all my problems come from my hip flexors and glutes. This has stopped my right hamstring firing properly, and lead to tightness in soles etc.
I know have some extreme foam rollering to do between now and Sunday’s marathon and, having done this for just one day have already seen a 3cm improvement in the dorsal flexion.
So…I guess the learning point is, if you’re feeling tightness or have a niggle see a good physio. They should be able to help you find the root cause as well as fix the symptom (injury).