3.26.2012

Stretches for runners

Perhaps it is my age or perhaps it is my running routine, but I am noticing that I am not as flexible as I used to be. Stretching is becoming more and more important to me for keeping my body feeling good and ready to go.

Coming from a background of soccer I am used to the standard stretches that can be applied for your legs. I can't say I am doing the same routine required of me in High School but have developed one that works for me beautifully. And no, not every stretching day is the same.

Today I had a fantastic stretch after my morning 1.21 miles. My goal today wasn't running, distance, or speed but loosening up my body. So how do I do it? First, I hardly ever stretch without warming up. I would love to say I never do but there are those times at the office, or at home, when I feel I need a little extra and I just go for it.

Here is my favorite standard stretching routine:

Standing Quad Stretch: I aim to hold each leg for 30-60 seconds depending on need. One rep each leg.

Lying Hamstring Stretch: I hold each leg for 60 seconds and often do two reps for each leg. I keep both legs straight and slowly pull my raised leg closer and closer to me. I feel this gives me a better stretch than having the non-stretching leg bent. Be careful to not overdo the stretch and if you focus, you can feel when your muscle truly releases and relaxes into the stretch.
 


Lying Pretzel Stretch: I hold each leg for 60 seconds or more and often do two reps for each leg. Again, if you focus you can feel your muscle relaxing into the stretch. I pull my leg closer to me when this happens. This is a critical stretch for me and I have variations I can apply when standing.
Lower Back/Piriformis Stretch: I hold each side for about 30 seconds and just do one rep each.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch: I hold each leg for 60 seconds and often do two reps.

*All images are Bing images and not my own.

In lieu of my normal ending of "today I am grateful for" listing 5 things, I am switching over to a daily gratitude and daily affirmation for each post. I hope you enjoy!

Daily Gratitude: Today I am grateful for the lovely early morning text from dear hubby thanking me for making coffee.
Daily Affirmation: I am at peace with myself.

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing these stretches!!

    My husband and I stretch before and after we run, I guess it works for us!

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  2. I agree. I definitely find I need to stretch more the older I get. I have a whole list of stretches I do when I have time, and a short list to do when I am pressed. I also love the foam roller, because I feel I can "stretch" without warming up. Finally, I have learned to love yoga this past year. I never did, but then I found a nice gentle stretching yoga class that falls the day after my long run. It's a perfect match, and it has helped me to embrace yoga. Now I have even signed up for a "hot yoga" class. The more I do it, the more I like it, I guess. Thanks for the great post!

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  3. Those are good stretches, and I'm still tight today so I may bust out a few at my dest!

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  4. I'm so bad about stretching. I will admit I usually only do it when, one of my body parts is not corrupting.

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  5. These are the same ones that I do so I think we got it covered! Thank you for sharing!

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  6. Great stretches! I do the kneeling hip flexor after every run.

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  7. THANK .....YOU

    I am going to do some of the ones I didn't already do - my body is so stiff from the race yesterday argh!

    and I am also a soccer girl ;) YAY!

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  8. I am really loving all the time I spend stretching these days. I have lost so much flexibility over the years, and stretching just FEELS so good... love the pretzel stretch you illustrate.

    For the most part, I don't really like being on the floor, but that is one stretch I do love.

    Good post, thanks for the reminder.

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  9. I am terrible about stretching. These look great. I really like that pretzel one! I think I'll definitely add it to my repertoire.

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