I will start with my two favorite things I have discovered this year. Both have given me a lot of control over how my body feels and responds to running as well as they have both left me feeling so much better in my daily life. My legs are already so much looser and smoother as I continue to implement the changes brought on by working on my muscles and connective tissues. My stride feels so much lighter and younger and my joints, particularly my hips, do not feel so tight, old, and stuck in place.
I will continue in further posts with recoomendations 2-10 as well as where I think I am going next year: as I have a few things in mind and am starting to generate a "plan" for next year. That would be a first because in most recent years I have just been trying to make my body recover my stride but it was always so haphazard and I had no control. I think I am now getting to where I have control over the imbalances in my body so that I can start building on that to further enjoy running (even into my 50's). And hopefully race fast too!
The Ming Method found in "The Permanent Pain Cure" by Ming Chew
"The Permanent Pain Cure" is the most recent book I have read and I am using bits of it on top off everything else I am doing as well as still exploring everything else in the book. I wasn't sure if I should recommend something so recent as my top choice of the year. But I think that this book has the most bang for the buck.
What I like about the program that Ming sets forth is that it is fairly comprehensive in that he covers a lot of ground. It covers stretching, strength work, and eating and hydration, but what I find most noteworthy are the self-therapy releases (based on ART) , the spinal decompression work, and the stretches for the fascia. I have not seen these things put into a general book that make them easy to understand and use. Particularly I like his releases based on ART (Active Release Technique). These up the notch a bit for people who use foam rollers, tennis balls, or elbows to a different level because you move your muscles to achieve a stretch and break up scar tissue. It is so much more effective. It has done a great job on my hamstrings and quads and allows them to loosen up and improve my running stride.
I am still playing around with the releases as well as thinking up some of my own based on the techniques. For example there are no calf and lower leg releases in the book. Last night I took out my TP Massage roller and spent just a couple of minutes on my lower leg just beneath my calf. Instead of just rolling my muscle up and down the roller, I held my leg in place and twisted and turned my foot and ankle around and back and forth. This not only loosened my leg up, I felt the effect up into my hip and lower back as they loosened up also. The most interesting thing was when I did my right lower leg, I felt the stiffness at the bottom of my right heel in certain positions. This is where I thought I might be getting plantar fasciitis in the summer. So there might be a tightness in my lower leg's muscles and tendons that could be contributing to the problem near my heel.
Here are my previous posts where I reviewed or commented on this book. I consider it a great resource for athletes (or non-athletes) using some newer techniques that they might want to try.
You can go to Innovative Body Solutions to order the Dara Torres video or order through Amazon:
or you can go to Meridian Stretching to order "The Genius of Flexibility 1.0" DVD
I have had many posts on resistance stretching.
Resistance Stretching: This is what Dara Torres does!
More on Resistance Stretching
The Genius of Flexibility Video 1.0 Review
More on the Dara Torres Resistance Stretching DVD
The Growing Influence of Resistance Stretching
SNAP!!! What in the World was That? OK don't stretch too hard!!!
Hold Steady and Stay Positive After getting stretched by a professional.
Partner Resistance Stretching
Improving a Hamstring Stretch
Plus I am sure I touched on how resistance stretching has helped my running in many other posts.
Let me know if you try any of these methods and the results you get as I am curious as to how they work on other runners.