Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: My 7 Favorite Stretches After Running

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My 7 Favorite Stretches After Running

Stretching is a must, especially as you start to add more mileage on. Your body takes a beating and it needs to relax. Stretching should only be done after the muscles are warm. So don't wait too long after you finish running to stretch. I try to do it within 30 minutes of running. Really right after I finish at the gym I tend to go to the stretching and plop down and do it, and if I do outside running then I stretch right as I walk in the door, and take off my shoes of course!

So here are my 7 must have stretches after running. Please listen to your body and don't bounce. Hold each stretch for a good little while. I count slowly to 30 or 45 depending on how much I need the stretch. Check out this AWESOME article about THE BENEFITS OF YOGA, ACCORDING TO SCIENCE by Jen Reviews!

1. Standing Quad Stretch
Just like you did in Jr. High school. Kick the heel of your foot up to your butt and hold. Do not pull the foot to your outside leg or let your knee flare out. Tuck your pelvis under and use a couch or chair for balance if you need. You should feel this in the front part of your thigh. Do both sides.

2. Standing Single-Leg Calf Stretch
You can use a wall to lean against, like the picture shows, or you can just brace yourself on your front knee. Place the right foot in front of you and extend your back leg back, you are doing like a mini lunge. Do not let your front knee go in front of your ankle. Keep a 90 degree angle on your front leg. Try to plant your left heel on the floor. You will feel the stretch in your back leg calf area. Repeat on other side.

3. Standing IT Band Stretch
You can use a wall for balance as in the picture. But I just cross my right foot in front of my left and bend to the left. You can raise your right arm up and over your head for more bend in your waist. You will feel this on the upper side part of the leg that is being crossed over. Repeat on the other side.

4. Straddle Stretch
Time to sit down. Your standing is done. I do it in this order cause if I got down on the ground I would not get up! Just like in dance growing up, just spread your legs out to the side. I like to lean over one leg to stretch each leg individually then go to the middle for the final stretch in this pose. I grab my toes so that I feel the stretch in the back of my legs on the hamstrings.

5. Pigeon Pose
My favorite yoga pose. I could seriously stay in this position forever. It feels so good! Bring your right leg in front and make a 90 degree angle bend at the knee with the foot turned in. Straighten your left leg behind, almost like a half split. Try to sit into that position and you can even lean forward over your bent leg in front. You will feel this in the IT band area, the upper part of your side leg that is bent. Repeat on the other side.

6. Lying Hamstring Stretch
Now going all the way to the ground. Lie all the way down. Raise one foot, flexed or flat, into the air trying to keep the other foot on the ground. Don't round your lower back. Keep that planted on the ground too. Hold your leg at your thigh or calf or grab a towel and sling it over your foot and pull on the ends of the towel to reach more easily. You will feel this in the back of the leg that is straight up in the air. Repeat on other leg.

7. Lying Hip and Glute Hug
Still lying on the ground keeping your lower back panted down, foot on the floor and cross your right ankle at your left knee. Grab the back of your left thigh and pull your legs to your chest. Also try to push your right knee out to the side and you will feel the stretch more in your butt and hips.

8) BONUS STRETCH! Corpse Pose

Lie all the way down on the ground. You can keep your arms to the side of your body or above your head. Just relax! Try not to fall asleep. If you have a 3 year old, this position can be dangerous because he will come and jump on your belly right when you aren't expecting it! TRUST ME! 

~Hope these help you! I just want you to start your year of running off right and taking care of your body, especially after a run, is the way to stay injury free and enjoy years of running! Happy Stretching! ~

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