Today's run went pretty well. My hips felt very well balanced (compared to normal) and I enjoyed the run because of it. I have changed a lot of things (even in the past week) so here are things that could be helping.
#1 My body is adjusting to using the sof sole inserts. They don't bother my feet - in fact my feet feel more solid and strong in them, but the changing of angles during footstrike and I think a lessening of pronation has changed the angles of legs, knees, hips, back and how they relate to each other. Whether this is good in the long run has yet to be seen. It could just replace one pattern of disfunction with another.
#2 I have been doing the "indigenous squat" for a couple of days. I think this is loosening up things in the hips and back. My hips felt more "in the socket" (I know that is not what is happening - but they seemed to be moving more in sync with each other. I also noticed that my lower back was tight, not in the muscles but more near the surface. I think this is the fascia that may be adjusting to changes in movement and balance as I readjust things.
#3 I noticed the other day that while doing the "FlowFit" DVD that my quads were tight. Today when running they felt like they were working better. Maybe I am strengthening and loosening them a bit.
#4 Maybe I just had a good day of running and it will all fall apart again tomorrow. Today I did use a pair of lightweight Saucony Kilkenny Shoes. I always enjoy running in minimalistic shoes the most. I have only done a few runs in these but they are similar in weight and profile to the Puma H-Streets that I like. They are a bit tighter around the forefoot however. I have also continued doing the Z-Health Neural Warmup before running.
#5 I did a some overhead lunges yesterday. I like the explanation on this site.
Hip Flexor Stretching
I like the reasoning on LaurensFitness.com for doing overhead lunges. Lauren writes:
This is possibly the best exercise you can do for opening up your hip flexors. It is basically a normal lunge, but you hold a medicine ball, or a light plate above your head. Out stretch your arms, keep them straight, directly above your head, and complete the lunges. You have something that is called fascia; it’s basically a sheath that runs over your muscles. Your fascia is a big issue in hip flexor tightness, and often when that is loosened, the muscle is too. Holding something above your head whilst lunging stretches this fascia out, and you get the added hip flexor stretch.
I know the fascia is an important and overlooked part of what holds a body and its workings together. Rolfing works on the fascia system. I had never heard that doing an overhead stretch can help the fascia of the hips and if so that is an extremely tight area on my body and if I can ease the tightness of the fascia maybe the hips will loosen up too! There are some other good stretches for the hip flexors on Lauren's website.
So I have lots of stuff to add to my arsenal and to continue to work with.
Here is another stretch I have not tried that I saw today on the Slowtwitch forums today. It is posted by someone from New Hampshire (yeah!)named "chief". I'll give it a try some day as it sounds like a killer so heed chief's warning to go slow.
The world’s greatest hip-flexor stretch.
WARNING: DO THIS SLOWLY
Start on your hands and knees with your feet against the wall. Slide your right foot straight up the wall, toes pointed to the sky, while letting your right knee slide back against the wall. Place your left foot flat on the floor for leverage and lean your torso back toward the wall. Your torso should be close to vertical (maybe not the first couple of times). Your left ankle, knee, and hip should be at 90 °. This is where it starts to get uncomfortable. During the entire stretch suck your bellybutton toward your spine. Slowly reach for the sky with your right hand and hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds. After this, switch hands and reach for the sky with your left hand and hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Finally, place your right hand on your right hip and allow your hips and left knee to move forward, all the while keeping your torso vertical, hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat for opposite side.