Mobility for Long Distance Running
Having the flexibility and range of movement in your muscles allows your body to be able to perform all the training needed of a long distance runner.
We are not saying that you need to have the flexibility of a gymnast, but many injuries are caused in athletics by a lack of range of movement in the major muscles used when running. As running is a repetitive movement, the muscles get used to only moving in a certain range of motion, which, overtime limits it to this range. This causes tight muscles which are often a precursor to more serious injuries.
Stretching and basic mobility drills such as hurdle walkovers are the best way to keep your muscles loose and mobile. Additionally you can use a foam roller or tennis ball to target particularly tight areas. Regular ankle and foot mobilisation through towel scrunching between your toes and banded inversion and eversion exercises are also a good way to keep the muscles in your feet and ankles from seizing up.
Muscles to pay particular attention to are fairly obvious ones in terms of running. This needs to be done on a continual basis as training tightens muscles and can cause injuries. The main muscles to work on a the calf (both with bent and straight legs - to get gastronemius and soleus), hamstring, gluts and quadriceps.
Our stretching section has useful tips on how to perform ideal stretches for your important muscle groups. Stretching