I hate stretching

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2 minute read

I’m a bad athlete 😵

I’ve previously written about how I hate strength training, but force myself to do it to supplement my running.

It’s good for you, it really does help, and I fully recommend doing it to help your training.

🏋🏼‍♂️

I hate stretchingchange my mind

Stretching is my issue today.

I’ve just got back from a 16-mile easy-paced run. My legs hurt. My ankles, calves, and quads ache.

I should stretch.

🏃🏼‍♂️

Stretches for runners

I’m focusing on post-run stretches because I feel that static stretching for warm-ups is more harmful than helpful.

Stretches are best done after exercising when your muscles are still warm - they help you to cool down and improve your flexibility.

I’m building a stretching routine and publishing this article so that, like with my strength routine, I can refer back to it when I need to do my post-workout session.

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Exercises

Here are 5 stretches that are beneficial for me as a runner, and what I'm going to focus on:

Hip flexor stretches

I have tight hip flexors. My left especially. It’s very important to stretch these after a run as the act of running tightens our hip flexors further, causing pressure and potential back pain.

Get in the lunge position, stepping one leg forward, and keep both feet pointing ahead.

Slowly bend your front leg and push forward until your knee is bent at a 90° angle. Feel the stretch in the front of the rear hip joint.

Hold for 15-20 seconds, release, repeat with the other leg.

Quad stretches

Your quads - the front of your thighs - are some of the muscles that work the hardest when running, so we need to stretch them afterwards.

Stand straight, lift one leg up behind you, and grab your foot with your hand.

Pull your heel toward you to feel the stretch in the quad. Keep your knees close together.

Hold for 15-20 seconds, release, repeat with the other leg.

Hamstring stretches

Your hamstrings can get extremely tight through repetitive running and no warm-down or stretching afterwards. This muscle is the back part of your thigh, stretching from the hip to the knee.

Sit on the ground and extend one leg out. Move the foot of the other leg towards your thigh, so that it touches the top of the outstretched leg.

Lean forward, bending toward the outstretched foot and attempt to reach for your toes.

Hold for 15-20 seconds, release, repeat with the other leg.

ITB stretches

The ITB, or Iliotibial band, runs along the outside of the thigh from the pelvis to the shine, crossing the hip and knee.

From a standing position, cross one leg behind the other. Lean slightly forwards and to the side until you feel a stretch on the outside of the leg that’s behind.

Raise your hand over your head and extend it to the other side.

Hold for 15-20 seconds, release, repeat with the other leg.

Groin stretches

The groin is the area between your stomach and thigh - the general hip area. I have trouble with this and it needs a lot of stretching after a long run.

Sit on the floor. Bend your knees and bring your feet together, so that your knees are pointed out.

Slowly slide your feet toward your body. Lean forward and press your knees down towards the ground.

Hold for 15-20 seconds, release, then slowly come back to the starting position and repeat.

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Making sure I do it

During the Calendar Club in April 2020, I made sure that I formed a habit, stretching or doing yoga every day after my runs.

I’ll block out a 15-20 minute slot in my schedule and perhaps even add it to my Training Peaks app, to ensure that I do it.

It’s good for you, it really does help, and I fully recommend doing it to help your training.

Thanks for reading! 👋🏻
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