It's all in the hips, Alex Morrow told me. And, no, Alex isn't a salsa dance instructor. He's the founder of Resolute Running Training Center in Birmingham and president of the Birmingham Track Club.
This year I hope to run three half-marathons, begin training for my first full marathon and I hope to log 1200 miles by December 31. When I first had a chat with Alex I asked what I should do to avoid injury since I plan to run so much this year.
"A lot of recent research says that 90 percent of injuries no matter where they occur are related to imbalance in the hips," he explained.
Think of the hips as a bowl of milk, Alex said. If that bowl doesn't stay balanced milk will spill and wherever it lands you can expect an injury.
That metaphor gives a whole new meaning to the idea of crying over spilled milk, huh?
Dancing to Shakira songs in my living room (Just Dance for Wii, anyone?), unfortunately, is probably not enough to keep my hips happy.
My running coach, Ann Thomas of Resolute Running, recommends the Myrtl routine. The Myrtl routine was developed by Jay Johnson, a coach based in Boulder, Colorado. The Myrtl routine gets its name from its focus -- your hip girdle. All the exercises in the Myrtl routine either strengthen or help provide greater range of motion in this area.
"The Myrtl routine helps ward off injuries by maximizing flexibility in the hip girdle area and strengthening the glutes," Coach Ann explained. "The routine was also designed with the assumption that most of us spend a great deal of time sitting, and it should address any asymmetries in your hips."
The video below will help you add the Myrtl routine to your workout regimen.