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5 Stretches For Runners – perfect for after your run
Love running? Well, make sure you stretch. It will help you to re-balance your body (and mind). It’s one smart strategy to keep injuries at bay. I’d also recommend using a foam roller after a run and getting a massage regularly (if you can afford to).
The restorative side of run training is as important as the long runs, short runs, hill runs, speed work, strength work & the rest days.
Running tightens up your muscles and so stretching helps to address this.
Before you run, spend a couple of minutes doing ‘moving, dynamic stretches’ (ie leg swings or smooth and controlled ‘walking lunges’). This prepares your body for moving well – and so you can run well. Do it while you chat with your run buddies. Get into the habit of stretching. It doesn’t have to take long.
After your run, take a few minutes to stretch out too. It helps to bring length back to tight muscles – and to help you avoid walking like a ‘lego-man’ (especially if you have done a long run).
5 stretches to try after your run
Stretch your inner-leg with this pose. I’ve got my elbows to the floor (because I stretch often), but most runners will only be able to reach their hands to the floor – and this is perfectly fine (and normal). Hold this stretch for 30-seconds on one side and breath deeply. Then hold the stretch for the same amount of time on your other leg.
Tight hips & glutes? Try this stretch above – reclining pigeon pose. Remember to relax your shoulders and neck and to breathe deeply. Stretch your right leg for 30-seconds, then stretch your left leg. This is one of my favourite yoga poses. It’s bliss for runners.
Twist. This stretch also targets hips, plus you get a bonus stretch in the upper body at the same time. Go multi-tasking! This one is called Lord-of-the-Fishes. Why should runners do it? Twisting strengthens the muscles which support your spine. And it feels darn good! Stretch one side for 30-seconds and then do the other side for the same amount of time.
Take your shoes off and do this perch pose. Tuck your toes under. Gently lower your butt towards your heels and push your heels back. Do this slowly and very, very gently. Take your time. Remember to take nice big deep belly breaths. I often feel tighter under one foot compared with the other. That’s normal. It’s about re-balancing the body. If one side feels tighter then hold the stretch on that foot a little longer. So, tune-in to what your body needs. Come out of the pose slowly and gently too.
Child’s pose to end. This is so restorative. Pause, breath beautiful big belly breaths and hold the stretch for 30-seconds or as long as you can. This will help you to re-set and will calm your nervous system in a matter of moments. Enjoy!