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Don't Run Into Running Problems

4 min read.

This blog is great both for people who’ve just taken up running and those who’ve been running for a long time!

There are simple mobility drills that all runners should be doing in order to make progress pain free and with confidence. 

Running isn’t usually classed as an “intense” form of exercise, or recognised as being hard on the body. People assume that because they have the ability to run (it is of course a natural, human thing to do), they don’t need any prerequisites, and it’s something you’ll get better at with practice. The problem is without a few foundational, basic strengths, running can be one of the biggest causes of injuries - sometimes it just takes a while for them to appear.


Open Your Hips

One of the first things you should be thinking about is opening your hips daily. Running doesn’t take your hips through much joint movement, and failure to move your joints through a full range of motion will lead to muscle tightness and lack of muscle activation – you’ll basically start falling forward and catching yourself with your feet, rattling your bones instead of developing your muscles in a way that will make you stronger.

An easy exercise you can include in your warm ups is a Deep Lunge. This will help to open your hips so that your glutes and hamstrings fire better when you are running, plus it’s tremendous for avoiding back pain.

There are loads of other important reasons why you should do this movement that we cover in our How is Your Hip Flexion blog but here is a quick demo of the deep lunge with a nice upper back rotation in it! 

3 sets of 5 reps on each side will have your hips ready to go!


Also include 3 sets of 5 each side as a cool down after your run (rather than sitting in that boring hamstring stretch for 2 minutes at a time). Do this exercise even on the days that you don’t run, to maintain and improve your current mobility.

Balance & Stability

The next thing you want to think about is your body’s stability. Running is a full body movement and the further you run the more you challenge your little muscles, ligaments and tendons which ultimately dictate how your joints feel. I have already mentioned your joints being rattled around like a mini skeleton in a biscuit tin rolling down a hill, and if your stability & balance suck then eventually you’re going to “run into” joint pain, shin splints, calve pain, foot pain, back pain - lots of stuff you don’t want.

The issue is how to you quantify what good balance is?

Well a minimum standard is: can you stand on your left leg for a minute without falling over and then do the same on your right leg?
With the idea of The Simplistic Mobility Method in mind, if you have one side that’s awesome and the other has falling in a wobbly mess then you really need to focus on that and “balance” it out! Ha! I love how many puns I’m getting in this blog.

Now! when you have achieved a good beginner level of balance you NEED to push that further if you really want to be able to run longer distances without injury, and if you want your body to recover easier between sessions.

This next drill is another daily one to do – especially if you’re bad at it! When you can do all 3 rounds without having to rest or set a foot down then you can reduce the frequency, or just do one round a day. The massive benefits of this simple exercise are just too good to stop doing it altogether.

We call this is the plate balance drill, but you can do it on a step or your fireplace.


Put the front half or ball of your foot on your step/plate/fireplace/etc. and complete:

3 rounds (no rest between rounds):

- 1 minute left leg 

- 1 minute right leg

- 1 minute both legs

You want to make this drill so easy that you could even do it with your eyes closed! (That’s the expert level by the way, but not essential. Being able to do it well without fatiguing quickly or falling off is, though).


Feet & Ankles

Lastly you NEED to start giving more attention to your feet and ankles! 

When you’re relaxing in the evening, spend 5-10 minutes rotating your ankles, stretching your toes and gaining more control over them. It will go such a long way in increasing your ability to absorb force through your feet. If your feet or ankles are weak then it has a knock-on effect throughout your entire body. It doesn’t matter how expensive your running shoes are, if your feet are weak then you may aswell have strapped two bricks to your feet and ran up a mountain.

There’s nothing fancy about these exercises, just give yourself a little bit of time to work on them and they will carry over to your next session; they don’t need to be part of your warm ups. If you find them really hard or you get a lot of cramps then that’s a big indication that you really, REALLY need them.


I have given you 3 really good focus points to help with your running right now but there are a good few other aspects to check and to look out for which are covered inside The Simplistic Mobility Method, it really is a program that everyone should go through before taking up any exercise - even running.


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