When I first began working out, I refused to stretch. It seemed boring and pointless to me. Several years later, I began having knee pain so sharp, it kept me from working out. It didn’t take long to realize it wasn’t joint related; it was my IT band screaming at me for not recovering and stretching.
At the time I was training for a half marathon and it was spring time in Michigan. I was outside soaking in every bit of warmer weather I could, but the pain got so bad that you can guess what I had to do … stretch and recover.
Since we’re getting into race season, I wanted to stress the importance of stretching after running and the need for recovery. I decided to focus on the best stretches to do after a run and asked Marco Italia, a stretching expert and certified fitness trainer at RDV Sportsplex Athletic Club, to help me with a few post run stretching basics. These stretches also help if you sit a lot during the day, because the muscles that get tight on the road can get tight sitting at your desk as well.
Ankle Mobility –
Kneeling with front foot flat on the floor. Slide knee towards the wall, you will feel the stretch throughout the whole lower leg. This stretch helps with recovery of the Achilles as well.
Figure 4 Stretch (also called pigeon in Yoga) –
Helps will hip mobility, releases the quad (front of leg) and feels good on the IT band. You can add an additional reach shown with TRX to make it a little more intense.
Wall Stretch for Hamstrings –
Keep feet flexed and swing leg down and up for 8-10 reps (go slow)
Foam Roll Calf
By placing your other leg on top of the calf you are creating additional pressure. Sit on the part that is most tender until you feel some release. It’s a “hurt so good” kind of feeling! (More to come on foam rolling later!)
Great stretch if you sit a lot during the day, run or lift weights. Stretched your hips and feels so good!
Happy Running and Stretching! 😉