As summer begins it’s the time of year when everyone is lacing up their running shoes and taking advantage of the warm weather. There is no doubt that running is great exercise, however, often running comes along with injuries and soreness. Proper stretching is extremely important for runners! Whether you are running a marathon, a 5k or just doing a jog around the block stretching is important! We commonly get asked which stretches runners should be doing so here is a quick guide.
Dynamic stretching should be done BEFORE a workout or run. Dynamic stretches are ones that involve moving through a range of motion. Some good dynamic stretches to do before a run include:
- Walking Lunges: Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg, bend both knees and drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee touches or nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot. Then switch legs.
- Squat Jumps: Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible and try to keep control of the movement.
- Hip Circles: Begin standing on one foot and hold onto something to keep your balance with one arm. Raise the other leg up to 90 degrees and rotate the hip in a clockwise and then counterclockwise direction. Then switch legs.
- Cossack Squats: Start with your legs about two shoulder lengths apart. Descend most of your weight onto one leg while keeping the other leg out and straight to the side. Alternate back and forth while trying to keep the feet in the same spot.
3 sets of 10 reps of each of these on each side is generally a good warm up!
Static stretching should be done AFTER a workout or run. Static stretches involve holding a stretch in one place for a period of time. Some good static stretches that can be done after a run include:
- Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall from several feet away. Stagger your stance, placing one foot forward. Lean forward and rest your hands on the wall, keeping your heel, hip and head in a straight line. Attempt to keep your heel on the ground as you lean forward into the wall.
- Hamstring Stretch: Stand with the leg to be stretched just in front of the other one. Bend the back knee and lean forward from the hips. Place your hands on the bent leg’s thigh, to balance yourself. If you can’t feel a stretch, lean further forwards or tilt your pelvis forwards.
- Quad Stretch: Stand on one leg and pull the other leg up to the glutes with one or both hands. Try to keep your knees together and push your hips forward to increase the stretch.
All of these should be held for 10-30 seconds on each leg.