This stretch is exactly what I needed this morning to address the tightness that resulted from yesterday’s run!
The video is from the stretching I did with Day 12 of my 12 Week START…Now! program. I’m currently going through the 12 week program a second time and a couple of days ago completed Day 12 again. This stretch is exactly what I’m doing right now as I sit on the floor writing this post.
After my 10k training team coach’s critique of my running form yesterday, I returned my focus to my ankles during my run this morning.
Years ago when I was first trying to change my running form from heel strike to landing on the ball of my foot, I did exactly what I was doing yesterday…kept my heels off the ground TOO much and gave myself a raging case of Achilles tendonitis that took 3 weeks to heal!
I don’t want that to happen again and I know that without occasionally revisiting this aspect of my running form, I will revert to old habits of keeping my heels up.
The problem is that it never FEELS like I’m keeping my heels up but I know from when I videoed myself previously, I am! The only way I was able to correct this issue was to attempt to make my ankles feel “floppy” or soft in mid-stride as well as when I pull my foot off the ground.
The combination of repeating to myself, “floppy ankles, floppy ankles” then imagining that by bending my knee I’m peeling my floppy foot up off the ground starting with my heel and finally my toes, I pretend I’m trying to show the sole of my shoe to the runner behind me which makes me relax my calf and let my whole foot lightly, momentarily have contact with the ground in midstride while avoiding pushing off with the ball of my foot.
It was a good run this morning as I worked on correcting my form but by the end I could tell the unnecessary tension I’d kept in my calves yesterday made them a bit tighter than usual this morning.
We all mess up sometimes. We all revert to old habits without occasionally getting feedback. The important thing is to work to fix it as soon as you feel that tightness creeping up. Stretch it. Video yourself.