Beware the silent Mogwai : He’s the real troublemaker
Her: “Wow, your calf muscles are well developed.”
Me: “Thanks for noticing.”
Her: “It wasn’t a compliment.”
Me: “Oh… Yes, of course, sorry.”
It has been some time since I saw my chiropractor, and I had forgotten that she doesn’t remark on areas of my body unless there is a problem. Luckily for me I was face-down on the treatment table so she didn’t have to see my embarrassed look.
In my last post I mentioned that I had a few little Mogwais causing issues which I needed to sort out to prevent them becoming nasty little gremlins, the notable one being calf and associated shin pain.
Well, it turns out that these little Mogwais were only the noisy ones. There were a couple of quiet ones hiding in the shadows waiting to cause havoc…a weak butt and tight hip flexors.
Unfortunately, my overdeveloped calf muscles are not the result of genetic luck, they are a symptom of requiring too much propulsion from my calves. Turns out my glutes and hamstrings are the culprits, by not providing the ‘missing’ propulsion. It’s not all their fault though. The real villain is my hip-flexors – they are very tight, which prevents my glutes/hamstrings from ‘pulling’ my leg back, meaning that I ‘drive’ my leg back through my quads and use my calf muscles to generate power at the end of my stride.
Further, the tight hip flexors ’tilt’ my pelvis forward, which has caused the muscles in my lower back to become stretched. I learned that it is these lower back muscles that assist in preventing lower back pain (which I get when standing for even a short period of time) and, crucially, weakness in these muscles can prevent the gluteus medius muscles from firing. Kind of a double whammy really.
- Hip flexor stretches to open my hips
- Lower back exercises to strengthen and shorten the muscles
- Strength exercises focussing on my glutes and hamstrings
I’ve set myself a ’30 day challenge’ to do my stretches and exercises every day for the next 30 days, which will take me through to 17th December, which is also the date of the first run of my next marathon build-up.
I have to admit that is cutting it fine to be focussing on fixing a muscular imbalance issue at the same time as building up to a marathon training phase, but for the time being I will just have to keep the running reduced while I build up the volume of these exercises – I don’t want to overload my glutes and hamstrings and risk injury.
It’s not all bad news though. I was also complaining of some SI joint pain. I was relieved to hear from my chiropractor that my SI joint is moving freely, the pain was being referred from my lower black and gluteus medius muscle, so the treatment of my hip flexor and glutes/hamstring should resolve this issue.
Fingers crossed dealing with my hip flexor and glutes will resolve my calf issue and other little Mogwais, and if I’m lucky, make me a better runner.
Is anyone else battling a couple of little Mogwais at the moment?
Happy running everyone!
Get Going, Get Running!