‘Anti-fragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.’
Most runners view strength and mobility work as a necessary tool to minimize the risk of injury and perhaps even improve their performance. Very few, however, prioritize some form of daily movement practice as a way to not only improve their running but also to improve the quality of their overall movement and life in general. Think about it, if you have 15 minutes extra then most runners will choose to extend their run rather than work on this opaque concept of movement. Why would you, especially when we led to believe that the only way to get better is to run more.
At the Run Project we take a different approach to movement quality. Of course, running is important, but we also try reinforce that having a daily movement practice can be the most important commitment that you make to yourself. Before we get into the why, lets discuss what a daily movement practice even is. Simplistically we like to advise our clients to pick 3-5 mobility or stability focused movement patterns from our video library and spend 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning doing them. As an example, one may start on the floor with some breathing work, following by a rolling pattern like baby get-ups, learning to create stability using side bridges and finally a crawling pattern of sorts. From there we might do some hip mobility work (think deep squats or hip aeroplanes) before finishing off with something a bit more running specific like a hip lock.
Over time the goal is to increase your movement ‘library’ by varying what you doing every morning, even if the general structure of the sessions stay the same. While 10-15 minutes may seem like such a short time to have any effect, your body can make big improvements from the accumulation of micro doses of varied movement throughout a year, let alone a life time. As a society we have become so sedentary and one of the few ways to get out of the cycle of pain, injury and an over reliance on medical professionals is to develop the discipline to have a movement practice. Getting stronger, less fragile has not only a physiological benefit but also a psychological one.
The good news for runners is that your running will also improve. A more resilient, pain free body will get injured less. This leads to consistency in your running which above anything else is the foundation for continued improvement year after year. In time you will also slowly regain the athleticism that so typically deserts us with age, become more sedentary and stop moving in different planes of motion. This improvement in athleticism further improves your running as you become more efficient and able to handle higher volumes and intensity in your training. The cycle becomes positively reinforcing. Instead of spending time in the evenings foam rolling out your aches and pains and calling your doctor at the first sign of pain, you become self-empowered and knowledgeable enough to use movement as a remedy to help to create the right environment for your body to heal itself. Through time, the fragile athlete becomes more resilient and robust, before finally morphing into anti-fragile where instead of fearing volatility, randomness, disorder, risk and uncertainty they thrive off it. This can only benefit your whole life, not just your running.