5 Exercises to Restore Your Muscles after a Hard Run

Proper muscle recovery is essential to prevent running injuries and to help facilitate the healing and building of your muscles. Stronger muscles are built via small tears created during exercise. During the rest and recovery period following a run, your body is working hard to repair these micro damages that have occurred. Further, your body is clearing toxins from these areas and bringing nutrients and cells to help heal these regions. Although our body is very much capable of eventually returning functioning back to normal after exercise, there are certain things you can do that may speed the process along. As most of us know, it is important to hydrate before, during, and after your run, as well as refuel the body with a meal within an hour after your run. What you put in your body counts just as much for your overall health as exercise does. The “you are what you eat” mantra is not entirely far from the truth.

6 Exercises to Beat IT Band Syndrome

The IT band is the ligament that runs down the outside of the leg, from the hip to the knee. IT band syndrome is one of the most common running injuries. Often due to overuse, it results in an irritated and inflamed IT band which can make running difficult. Stretches and icing of the IT band can help relieve some of the associated pain. However, many runners find that as soon as they continue their running routine the condition comes right back.

Symptoms often include pain located on the outside of the knee. This is often an indicator of misaligned femur movement pattern. How do we fix this? Exercises that target glute strengthening and pelvis alignment can be great combaters for IT band syndrome. The following offers 6 exercises you can do to help get you back on track and counteract that annoying IT band syndrome that just won’t quit.

3 Exercises To Help You Achieve (Near) Perfect Running Form

Good running form helps prevent injuries from occurring. The body is made a certain way. Good posture often refers to the sitting or standing form where the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are under the least amount of strain. The same thing goes for running form. Improper technique can stress the joints and muscles, eventually causing pain and injury. Thus, it is of utmost importance to maintain good form, especially on those long runs!

There are exercises that can be done off the track that can strengthen and prepare your body to maintain good form when running. They can make you more aware of your body. They can further make your running form more efficient. Why strain muscles or overwork muscles that you don’t have to? Completing the following 3 exercises, 3 times a week may help you achieve near perfect running form.

The Seated Row

Why include an exercise for the upper body? Often runners neglect upper body exercises and opt for leg strengthening workouts. It, of course, makes sense. Strengthening and stretching of the hips and legs are important to creating a more efficient stride. However, many runners forget that good posture throughout a run is just as important. The seated row works the middle and lower trapezius muscles strengthening, often neglected, postural muscles. It keeps your spine aligned properly and prevents that improper forward hunch and forward head posture.

How To:

  1. Sit on the mat, with your legs straight in front.
  2. Wrap a resistance band around the bottoms of your feet. Hold the ends of the band in each hand with your arms straight to start.
  3. Slowly bend the elbows back along the sides of your body.
  4. At the same time, gently pinch the shoulder blades down and in.
  5. Slowly return to start and repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Do not shrug the shoulders.
  • Gently contract the core to protect the low back and prevent arching of the back.
  • If sitting on the floor is difficult, sitting in a chair with the band wrapped around a post is also an option.

High Knees

The high knees drill targets the hips, glutes, and thighs, which are all major muscles used in running. Strengthening these muscles can add power and efficiency to your running form.

How To:

  1. Stand with your feet approximately hip-width apart.
  2. Bend one knee and lift it up in front of you. Your thigh should create a 90-degree angle with the trunk of your body.
  3. Lower the leg forward and alternate sides.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Maintain a straight posture by gently contracting the core.
  • The high knee exercise can be done as a separate exercise or as a warm up prior to other exercises.

 

Chin Tucks

This exercise goes hand in hand with the seated row in preventing incorrect forward hunch or forward head posture. Chin tucks target the deep neck flexor muscles in the front of the neck. They help keep the head in line with the rest of the spine.

How To:

  1. Lie face up on a bed or mat.
  2. Without lifting the head off the mat or bed, gently nod your head.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks

  • A rolled towel can be placed behind the neck for support.
  • The muscles on the side of your neck, such as the sternocleidomastoid, should be relaxed throughout the exercise.

Exercises that support good running form may prevent future injuries from occurring.  Injuries can disrupt training and put your running goals on the back burner. The 3 exercises described above may aid in improving your running form and even your posture in day-to-day activities. Remember, your work off the track is just as important as your work on the track!

5 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Proper Running Form

Strength training is an important aspect to include in your regular workout routine. As a runner, many believe the more running the better. However, regular strength training is significant in injury prevention. Balance is key. Strengthening the muscles involved in running can support joints prone to injury from overuse. Incorporating 2-3 strengthening days a week to coincide with 2-3 running days is an effective and efficient way to improve your running form and reduce the risk of injury.

How To Integrate Cross-Training Into Your Running Workouts

You’ve likely heard about the importance of cross-training. Greater speed, improved endurance, and reduced risk of injury are some of the frequently-touted benefits of adding cross-training into your running workouts.

But it can be overwhelming to decide which cross-training activity to add to your existing running workouts. Then there’s the time factor – between running, work, family, and friends, it can be a challenge to do it all.

Fortunately, there are a few forms of cross-training that provide maximum results with minimal time. The following activities, when strategically added to existing running workouts, will help you get stronger, improve your speed, and reduce your risk of getting injured.

6 Resistance Band Exercises to Prevent Running Injuries

In the past few decades, running has gained speed as a popular cardio choice. Fun runs, such as foam runs, color runs, and mud runs, have made it accessible and inclusive to all. It is a great option for anyone just starting out or wanting to get back in shape. No gym equipment or membership required. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and workout clothes, and you are good to go.

However, running injuries can be discouraging, to say the least. Poor running form, muscle imbalances, or improper running shoes can all be factors contributing to an injury. Luckily, they are all completely in your control. Correct improper posture. Educate yourself and shop around for a pair of running shoes that are suited for your feet and gait. As for muscle imbalances, various resistance band exercises may reduce the risk of running injuries. The following exercises target major problem areas that may lead to injuries. By strengthening certain muscles, you may further become a more efficient and stronger runner. Always be sure to do a proper warm-up and cool down involving appropriate stretches before and after your run.

7 Yoga Poses for Race Recovery

Running can take a toll on the body. The repetitive motion has a huge impact on our joints and muscles. It is, thus, vital to take the time after that big race to recover. Taking the necessary time to stretch and cool down may prevent running injuries, increase flexibility, and allow time for your body to return to a balanced state. Yoga is a combination of gentle static stretches and strengthening that may further support race recovery. Including these 7 yoga poses in your post-race flow can stretch out those tight muscles, improve your running form via postural correction and core activation, and reduce the risk of running injuries.

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Hip Flexor Pain

Hip flexor injuries are common running injuries often attributed to overuse. The hip flexor muscles bring the thigh forward and up, a repetitive motion seen in running. Tight hips can cause postural deficits that may, in turn, affect running form and may cause running injuries. If the hip flexors are tight, the pelvis may rotate toward the front. This position may arch the lower back causing, even more, issues to arise.

However, hip flexor pain and injuries are highly preventable. Taking the necessary precautions may reduce the risk of the hip flexors becoming problematic. Targeted strengthening and stretching exercises, a proper warm up, and education on the topic may aid in keeping your running training plan on track.  The following outlines 5 ways to prevent common hip flexor pain, starting today.

5 Static Stretches for After Your Run

A cool down post-run is just as important as a warm-up prior to your workout. Including a proper warm-up and cool down into your running routine may decrease the risk of running injuries. A warm up increases blood flow to the muscles and increases your heart rate. It is often recommended to include dynamic stretches into a warm-up. Dynamic stretches may enhance your running form by engaging major muscles of the core, hips, and legs.

A cool down, on the other hand, slowly brings your heart rate back down and may decrease post-run muscle soreness later on.  Incorporating static stretches, such as the following outlined below, into your cool down routine may further increase your flexibility and provide varying degrees of relief.

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