Going for a nice long run can be as much of a good workout as a peaceful getaway from the everyday. Feeling the breeze on your skin and the sound of your feet hitting the ground documenting the victory of each mile you conquer are some of a runner’s favorite parts of a long run. Running is as great for the body as it is for the mind as you focus on regulating your breathing, keeping proper running form and connecting your mind and body.
A great pair of sneakers and an updated playlist are not the only essentials for a long run. Maintaining proper running form is important to avoid running injuries and keep you on your running plan. A good warm up and after run stretches are the perfect pairing to a good run, here are 5 simple stretches to compliment your long run:
Reclined Pigeon Pose:
Pigeon is great for stretching and releasing the hips as well as the lower back which can become tight from running often.
- How to:
Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Cross your right ankle over your left thigh with your right knee pointing out to the side. Keep your right foot flexed to protect your knee joint.
- Lift your left foot off the ground, wrapping your hands around your thigh hugging it close to your chest. Imagine your right knee pressing forward
- Hold for a count of 20-30 seconds, switch sides
Tips & Tricks:
Use a strap or belt around the left thigh if your back and shoulders are lifting off the ground.
Tuck your chin towards your chest, keeping your neck long.
This stretch is great for releasing the quads as well as hip flexors and increases flexibility and improves circulation.
- From a standing position lift your left foot off the ground, bending at your knee to bring your foot up behind you.
- Reach for your leg above the ankle joint. Pull your foot towards your buttocks.
- Engage your core muscles here and think about pointing your tailbone towards the floor to keep your back from over arching.
- Take deep breaths hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side
Tips and Tricks:
Use a chair or a wall or keep your balance
Calf stretches can help reduce knee pain and improve flexibility.
- Facing a wall step your left foot back behind you, with your right toes closer to the wall and your knee bent,
- Don’t bend your back knee.
- Press your hands against the wall and lean in until you feel thestretch in the calf of the straight leg.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds. repeat on other side.
Hip Flexor Stretch:
This stretch helps to avoid tightness in the hips and lower back.
- Start with both knees on the ground
- Step your left foot forward
- Keep your back knee on the ground with the top of your back foot on the ground,
- Slowly lean forward towards your left leg Keeping your left knee over the ankle
- You will feel a stretch in the front of the right hip flexor
Tips and Tricks:
Use a wall beside you for support.
Put your hands on the ground in front of you
Stretching your hamstrings is important to help prevent lower back tightness and injuries.
- Lay flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you, or knees bent with your feet flat.
- Slowly bring your left leg towards you and wrap your hands around your thigh
- Keep your head and shoulders planted firmly on the ground
- Take deep breaths here as you draw your leg towards your face.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat on opposite side
Tips & tricks:
Relax your arms and upper body more by using a strap or belt wrapped over the ball of your foot
keeping your leg long and your knee soft, foot flex, keep the back of your arms rest on the ground and bend at the elbows.
Go slow and avoid overstretching.