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There is a lot of information out there regarding stretching for runners so we have tried to summarise a few key fact to help you with your running-stretch-strategies!
Firstly research has shown that static stretching prior to exercise can reduce power output and thus is no longer being promoted for use prior to our runs. However, static stretches are still recommended for after our runs to aid recovery and reduce DOMS (delayed-onset-of-muscle-soreness).
It is still important to warm up our joints and cardiovascular system before our runs, so a brisk walk/light-slow jog, some dynamic stretches and joint mobility exercises are a great start as part of your warm up. Please see our blog for more details on this if interested.
As for after your runs – please find four of our favourite stretches below to target the key running muscles groups. Hold each of them for a count of 40 (minimum of 30sec but we recommend 40 as we usually count too fast!) and repeat twice on each leg.
1. Quadriceps Stretch
Take your right foot in your right hand behind you. Keep your knees together and tail tucked under. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh.
2. Hamstring Stretch
Place your right foot up onto a step and slightly bend your right knee. Tip your tail bone out and bend forwards, maintaining a straight back posture. Feel the stretch in the back of your thigh only.
3. Calf Stretch
Lean against a wall with your right leg bent in front of you and your left extending back behind you. Ensure your feet are facing forwards, your left knee is straight and that your left heel is down. Feel the stretch in your left calf.
4. Gluteal (Buttock) Stretch
Lying on your back take your right knee into your chest and across your body towards your left shoulder. Add a little rotation by drawing the left ankle in towards you. Feel in the buttock only. Cease if you feel this in your groin/front of hip and seek guidance from your physio for an alternative stretch.
With your static stretches hold a light stretch and gradually increase the intensity within comfortable limits. If you are over zealous with your stretches your body can tighten up in response to protect itself – so ‘slow and steady wins the race’ in this case folks!