Love your calves!
If you consider yourself a runner, you actually use your calves, A LOT! Every running step you take (and actually every step you take). Since, the calves play a pivotal role in your running success and your ability to recover you actually need to take extra care of them.
More than ninety percent of running injuries come from the lower legs. What percentage of recovery do you spend on your calves/ lower legs. Stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, shin splints, achilles tendonitis, ankle immobility, gastrocnemius or soleus pulls, etc.
But I stretch/mobilize/length my calves! Maybe, maybe not. To train effectively there does need to be corrective exercises involved in your running as to get rid of the garbage you incurred while working out…. in addition to your decisions you make day in and day out with your calves.
I don’t know what shoes you wear. Most runners I see today wear a positive heeled shoe. This means that the heel (calcaneus) is higher than the forefoot. This automatically shortens your calves without even doing a thing! I am NOT telling you to go buy minimalist shoes, I’m just saying you need to work extra hard on your calves because of the shoes you wear!
How much do you sit? Most people that sit, sit with their knees bent (chair, car, airplane, work, train, couch). Anytime your knees are bent you are shortening your calves. Period.
We, as humans, have adapted to shorter calves for numerous reasons. Just relaxing your calf and looking at it, guaranteed it’s not in a “neutral” position. You actually have to force it into neutral, which feels like dorsiflexion; but, in actual fact it’s not.
My question to you: where are you in terms of calf love? If you are not loving your calves I don’t think you realize the multitude of injuries, pain and issues that can occur just from simply not paying attention to your calves.
Here is a corrective exercise to do EVERYDAY for your calves. It’s in my “Performance Recovery from the Feet Up for Runners” online program. Seriously, do this for a month. Yes, every single day for a month. 2X 15-30 seconds morning and night. AND, everyday you run do this again; hence 3X/day.
This isn’t for everyone. Let’s face it: many people are lazy. It’s much easier to get injured, feel sorry for yourself, not do the work and take time off in order to not get the benefits of Accountability, Responsibility and better overall health. You don’t have to do the exercise I provide, I’m just putting it out there: Are you truly taking ownership of your body? It’s a heck of a lot more work…. and it is FAR more rewarding. The calf stretch I provide is the most functional, in skeletal alignment and useful for running and day to day activities.
January Challenge (and actually for the rest of 2016) Let’s all do the calf stretch e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y!