Stretching

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Free Running 101

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Stretching

BASIC RULES FOR STRETCHING

Don’t bounce when you stretch. 

Bouncing puts you at risk for pulling or tearing the muscle you are stretching.

Stretch your muscles gradually.

The slower you stretch, the farther you will be able to stretch your muscle.  Stretching slowly is also helpful when it comes to avoiding injury.

Once in position, hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.

This will allow your muscles the time needed to get the maximum benefit from each stretch.

Stop your stretch if you get to the point where you feel tightness in the muscle.

Overstretching can lead to injury.  Stop if you feel discomfort or pain.


THE FOUR STRETCHES I DO BEFORE EVERY RUN

Toe touches 

Stand with your feet together.  Keeping your knees straight (but not locked), slowly bend forward, attempting to reach for your toes, and hold this position.  This stretch is helpful when it comes to keeping your hamstrings loose.

Splits

Spread your feet as far apart as possible, while keeping them parallel to each other.  Fold your arms at the elbows and hold the opposite elbow.  Bend forward, trying to reach the ground with your folded arms.  This stretch will help to keep the inside of your thighs (adductors) lose, which is important for total leg muscular balance.

The Flamingo

Begin by balancing on one foot, holding a nearby object for balance.  Use the hand which is on the same side of your body as the foot which is still on the ground.  Hold your other foot (with the hand that you are not using for support) by the toes.  Gently raise that foot behind you, bringing it as close as you comfortably can to your buttocks, and hold this position.  This will help to stretch your quadriceps.

Calf Curb

Place the ball of one of your feet on a curb, or a step.  The ball of your foot should be supported by the curb, and the heel should be hanging off of the edge.  Slowly put your weight on this foot.  Once it is supporting most of your weight begin to gradually drop your heel.  You should go to a point just short of discomfort, and then allow your calf to relax.  Hold this stretch, and then repeat this action with the other foot. This stretch is beneficial for your calves and Achilles tendons.