Venice is my favorite city that I have traveled to thus far. Admittedly it isn’t great for trail running, but its virtues make up for that short-coming. It is a unique place, and its fragility is evident. Every corner you turn there is evidence of ongoing maintenance to the foundations of the buildings. If not for this work the city would quickly be swallowed by the ocean.
I believe that becoming, and remaining a good runner requires a strong foundation. But unfortunately I believe runners are built in Venice, so therefore require consistent attention to their foundations.
What do I mean by a ‘foundation’ in the context of the runner? The following hallmarks constitute my idea of a runner’s foundation:
- Mobile joints that have a comfortable, springy end-range both passively and actively.
- Muscles that fire when they are supposed to, but relax when they are not needed.
- Connective tissue that is supple and compliant.
- Balance between the left and right sides of the body.
Every one of my clients is assessed against those criteria, and prescribed specific home-based techniques to help them construct their own foundation.
Unfortunately though, once built, our foundation will quickly erode if we are not attentive to it on a regular basis.
I have spent the past 6 weeks or so concentrating on refining my own foundation, and feel ready now to progress into my next phase of training, strength work.
But I will continue to check a few key exercises and mobility drills at least once per week, just to make sure they continue to feel easy and comfortable.
If you feel niggly and uncomfortable when you run, or after you have completed your run you are probably running on a shaky foundation. You will enjoy running all the more if you attend to this.