Stretching for Runners

September 22, 2011

Stretching: you know you should do it, but you never have the time.

Plus, does it really help or improve your performance anyhow?


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Honestly, I love stretching. It feels good and it is easy! It does not require a lot of thought or effort—it is very passive. So why is it so hard to incorporate into our regular routine?

Usually after a run, I am too preoccupied with what I have to accomplish next: getting ready for the day, eating, and getting out of my sweaty clothes—or figuring out how to get warm (depending upon the season), which causes stretching to take a back burner.

But frankly, it is all about making the time—which is actually my philosophy for anything in life. (It isn’t that you don’t have the time, it is about making the time. If it is important enough, you will find the time to do it!)

So let’s make the time to stretch! (Myself included!)


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Here are ways I fit stretching into my busy lifestyle.

If you know me, I am always busy doing something and love to multi-task. So even though time of an essence, I am usually pretty good about fitting in a good stretch here and there.

* I will stretch just about anytime I am standing around: in line at the grocery store, while waiting for the crosswalk signal to change (especially while out on a run), waiting for the printer to finish printing a document, etc.

* While out on a walk, I will stop to use the curb for a good calf stretch.

* Another great way I incorporate stretching into my daily routine is to stretch during commercial breaks on TV. I will often use this time to do an ab workout or push-ups as well.

(I know it takes a little extra motivation to get off the couch during those commercial breaks, but remind yourself it is only for 3-4 minutes before your show comes back on.)

* Attend a yoga class. I love how loose and flexible my muscles feel after a good, deep stretch of yoga poses.

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Some of my favorite stretches for my running legs:

Fire Log (Yoga)


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A more detailed description.

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Triangle Pose (Yoga)


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Hamstring Stretch

– standing up

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– laying down


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Calf Stretches


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I know many people do this stretch for their calves. . . .


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but I really dig try this one even more!


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Hip Flexors


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Plus, does stretching really help to improve your performance as a runner or athlete anyhow?

Well, I honestly don’t know; there are critiques on both sides. But what I do know is that stretching feels good, and I feel better when my muscles aren’t so tight and stiff, so I’ll keep doing it!!

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Question

Tell me about your stretching routine.

What types of stretches do you do? How you incorporate stretching into your fitness routine?


12 Comments
    1. i hardly ever make time to stretch…i’m so bad about it, but you’re right- it does feel good! i usually do some calf stretches everyday (the same ones you have pictured) because my calves get so tight!

    1. i hardly ever make time to stretch…i’m so bad about it, but you’re right- it does feel good! i usually do some calf stretches everyday (the same ones you have pictured) because my calves get so tight!

    1. I’m a coach, and I lead my athletes in stretching on a regular basis. It helps them establish good habits early, and it helps me get in my stretching!! We usually go from head to toe in order with our stretches.

    1. I’m a coach, and I lead my athletes in stretching on a regular basis. It helps them establish good habits early, and it helps me get in my stretching!! We usually go from head to toe in order with our stretches.

    1. Great post! As a general rule, after a run (or ride) I will not allow myself back into the car or house until I’ve stretched. Otherwise, I’ll forget! Also, I try to make it to yoga twice per week and have learned some amazing poses to get in after a run! (camel, wheel, down-dog and forward fold are my faves…followed by child’s pose!)

    1. Great post! As a general rule, after a run (or ride) I will not allow myself back into the car or house until I’ve stretched. Otherwise, I’ll forget! Also, I try to make it to yoga twice per week and have learned some amazing poses to get in after a run! (camel, wheel, down-dog and forward fold are my faves…followed by child’s pose!)

    1. My stretching routine needs MAJOR improvement. I’m convinced that’s playing a major role in my ham’s lack of healing. I’m hoping after my last race this weekend to take a 30 day running hiatus to cross train and stretch and strengthen the muscles in my legs. Thanks for all the great tips!!

    1. My stretching routine needs MAJOR improvement. I’m convinced that’s playing a major role in my ham’s lack of healing. I’m hoping after my last race this weekend to take a 30 day running hiatus to cross train and stretch and strengthen the muscles in my legs. Thanks for all the great tips!!

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