If you are new to running or want to train for a competitive event, you may have picked up a runners magazine or checked out an online training program. Here we are explaining Best Post Running Stretches that you should practice after a run, and try to find time for them on your off days too. The only thing that the training program will probably tell you is how to run, in particular the distance you can aim for.
What it doesn’t tell you is how to protect your body from the increased stress of the increased mileage through stretching after your workouts!
As crucial to your workout as stretching is, not one training program online is going to tell you to stretch. Some people might limber up a bit before running, but few people know that post-run stretching is the most important! Therefore you must try to incorporate the Best Post Running Stretches to your advantage in your personal training.
Stretching after a run will help protect your muscles from injury, especially from the concussion of running. It will promote blood circulation and help muscle micro-fibers repair themselves more efficiently. Plus, it just makes your body feel good as well as helps you become more aware of your body.
Awareness is the first step towards protecting yourself from injury. If a particular muscle or ligament is sorer when stretching, it is a good idea to focus your stretching on that area to help the muscle repair itself.
So you know that it is important to stretch. But what kind of stretches should you do? Here I am going to give you the Best Post Running Stretches.
- Start with your calves – a lunge with one leg forward at a 90-degree angle, and the other stretched back resting on the toes. This one is a good “oldie” because it really works out any tightness in your calves.
This stretch will help prevent shin splints by helping your calve muscle to repair faster so it can work to minimize concussion, allowing you to land more softly.
- Move on to your hamstrings. Try standing with your legs crossed (step your right foot over to the left of your left foot) and bend over slowly from the waist. When you begin to feel the burn, stop there and maintain the stretch for at least 5 seconds.
Then do your other leg (left foot placed to the right of your right foot). The hamstrings are another big muscle group that works hard during your running.
- Stretch the calf muscle and the hamstring together by sitting down with your legs stretched out directly in front of you and reaching over and down to your feet. Just as much as you can and hold your stretch for at least 5 seconds – and work your hold to longer times as you become more flexible.
- Try a V formation with your legs sitting down to also stretch out your inner thigh muscles or groin muscles, also known as the adductor muscle group. Similarly, try to touch your feet by reaching over your leg. The wider the angle of your V shape made by your legs, the deeper the stretch.
These muscles might not feel sore from running, but stretching them makes them come into action more, making your stride lighter and more controlled when running. And a lighter, more controlled stride means less risk of injury!
- Don’t neglect your glutes or buttock muscles in your post running stretches. Rollover on your back and bring your right knee back towards your chest. Hold the stretch where it is comfortable for you, yet still, you feel the stretch in your glutes by holding your knee with both hands and pressing your knee towards your chest.
Glutes are important because they are the beginning of the muscle group combination that starts each step.
- Finally, moving to a muscle in the front of your body – your quads or front thigh muscles. Stand up and lift one foot towards your buttock. Holding your knee with your hand, increase the stretch to where it is still comfortable but you feel your quads.
The quads are important as they are a key muscle that enables your running stride. So don’t forget to stretch the quads but be careful not to place too much strain on your knee when doing this.
If you do these stretches after running every time, you will, no doubt be training smart and reducing your risk of injury. Try to spend ten to fifteen minutes doing these Best Post Running Stretches after your run and don’t cut corners! If you do this, I guarantee your running stride will improve, becoming more efficient and reducing the concussion to your joints, particularly your knees and ankles.
Happy Run and don’t forget to stretch!
Read more: The Dos and Donts of Training for a Marathon