We all know stretching is important and makes our muscles and bodies feel so much better after a run or a workout. We don't always do it though, right? Many of us, instructors included, do not stretch properly before and after workouts. We created this simple stretching routine for the busy no-nonsense runner.
There are two types of stretches - dynamic and static. We recommend you do both on a regular basis. Dynamic stretching is best performed at the beginning of a workout (intervals, hills, track) because it preps your muscles for power, which you need for a run. Static stretching is best for post workout because it allows your muscles to lengthen and rest.
Pre workout: Run about 1 mile and then perform a few dynamic exercises: high knees, butt kicks, slide and glides, karaoke and leg swings. About 20 meters for each exercise.
Post workout: Do the following routine, stretching each muscle group for 15-30 seconds each.
- Abdomen/Chest: Interlace your fingers behind your back and move your hands down and away from you to stretch the front of the body.
- Shoulders/Arms: Bend your elbow behind your head and gently pull the elbow behind you. Repeat, on the other side.
- Hamstrings: Stand with feet together, bend your knees and slowly bend forward. Relax your neck. Slowly bend one leg and then the other to stretch each hamstring.
- Hips: Hold onto a railing for balance and cross the left ankle over the right knee. Sit back like you were sitting in a chair to stretch the whole hip area. Repeat on the other side.
- Quadriceps: Hold onto a railing for balance. Bend your left leg so your heel moves towards your glute. Grab the outside of the left foot with your left hand. Bring your knees into alignment, keeping the knee pointed straight down and back straight. Push your hip forward and bring your foot away from your body for more a quad stretch.
- Calves: Stand on a step. Drop your left heel off the edge of the step to gently stretch through the calf.
That's it! Nice and easy. No excuse to not stretch after each and every run. Need extra stretching but don't have time? Bring a golf ball to work and 2-3x a day, slip your shoes off, stand up and roll your foot on the ball.