Cross-training for runners: Why MovNat is my injury-prevention modality
We are teaming up with Brooks Running coach Magdalena Donahue and with the awesome physical therapists at Langford Sports & Physical Therapy to provide the next in our FREE community education series: Injury Prevention for Runners (you can sign up HERE). In preparation for this, I thought I would give a shout out to MovNat, as it’s helped keep me healthier in my running career (as recreational as that may be). Here are the top 3 reasons I choose MovNat as my cross training and injury prevention base for running. At our free injury prevention workshop, you'll get a lot more generalized information on what to look for and include in a cross training plan, but here are the reasons I love MovNat for this.
1. Movement in different PLANES.
I am a long distance trail runner (read: too slow for shorter distances!). I like to explore the mountains, getting out as far away from everything as possible while still being able to return before I run out of food and water. Because I run on trail, I get a little more variability in my stride, but really I’m still just running—a repetitive motion in one plane.
For injury prevention purposes, we often talk about making sure you vary the demands on your body. Overuse is all about repetitive strain, and so if we can intermix some activities that include lateral movement, bending, moving backward, and moving on the ground, our bodies will be better able to withstand the stresses of running, and will be able to do so for longer.
MovNat is all about moving in different ways and in different planes of movement. And each class is different. We work through skill progressions for ground movement, climbing, obstacle management, lifting and carrying, and balancing. And these are SO different from running.
Since I started teaching MovNat here, my body has felt much better when I run. My knees, with my history of 5 surgeries due to collegiate soccer injuries, have never felt so good. My back and pelvis, somewhat destroyed by giving birth to two adorable children, is able to tolerate 15 mile runs without pain. It’s kind of amazing how much more stable and adaptable my body feels since I started a regular MovNat practice.
2. FUN cross training.
MovNat is FUN (read about having fun with your kids with MovNat HERE). I mean, surprisingly fun. In our classes here, we play, we fail, we explore, we challenge each other and ourselves. We build community, get to know our neighbors and old friends better. The movement is fun, the challenge of learning new skills is fun, the failure is fun, and the achievement is fun.
This is in contrast to some other cross-training methods I’ve used in the past. I’m a physical therapist, and I love working with PTs after an injury—that tends to be fun for me. But when I’m done with PT and move on to do my strength and mobility work on my own, I start to get bored. I tried yoga, and it was fun and fulfilling, but I didn’t get enough strength work to keep me completely healthy. I tried cross fit, which was also fun, but I’m so competitive that I ended up pushing too hard and was worried about injury. MovNat is what I’ve found to be a great base from which to push harder in other areas, whether that’s running, rock climbing, or playing with my kids at the park.
Other than telling you how fun it is, the best way to really get an idea of this is to come to a class. Sign up for your first one HERE and use the code FIRSTTIME to get in free, and see how fun MovNat is.
3. Focus on FORM.
Most fitness experts focus on form, but often that emphasis is lost over time, or the movement is taught with good form but then the workout is designed in a way to promote speed or repetitions over form. MovNat is different. Form is emphasized the entire time, and the learning of proper form, via progressions, IS the workout.
As a physical therapist, I work so hard to teach my clients better, safer movement patterns, and it’s wonderful to have found a place I can be sure my clients will continue to improve movement patterns, learning about their bodies and how to use them in daily life in a healthy way. I teach some of our MovNat classes at MoveTru, and it’s amazing to see our members improve in confidence and ability, both in the MovNat skills and in their sport. The emphasis on good form, and the benefits of moving in a variety of ways with good form translates to rock climbing, running, lifting and cross fit, and playing with your kids or grandkids (or for my grandma, playing with your great-grandkids).