Stretching for resistance runners: 5 exercises that you can’t miss out of your training routine
(by Lorenzo Andreini)
It’s true to say that stretching is by no means loved by most resistance runners. You might think the routes chosen by runners are too uncomfortable to stop and stretch, you might think the key to running well is just grinding out the miles.
Think of it like this instead: the activity you find the most uncomfortable and boring is one of the most important weapons of the sport, in terms of efficiency and injury prevention.
Stretching is an essential part of training for athletes of all ages. Especially as you get older, it’s crucial to help your muscles by keeping them elastic, avoiding reduced tendon extension and stopping your joints from losing mobility.
Preferably, you should stretch after the classic 20-25 min warm-up, but if the session is long distance you could also do it at the end of training.
Here are 5 exercises that you absolutely cannot ignore.
1) Lie on the ground in the supine position (preferably on a rug) and, with the help of your arms, bring your knees to your chest. Hold the position for 15-20 seconds and repeat the exercise twice. A simple and effective spine exercise.
2) Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent. Breathe in and lift your knees, breath out and take them back down, keeping the soles of your feet together. Repeat 15-20 times. Now, work on your hips.
3) Stand up with your legs together. Bend forward and try and touch your feet (it doesn’t matter if you get there or not!). Hang there gently for about 10 seconds. Stand up straight and repeat at least one more time. You should feel a light tension in your hamstrings.
4) This one is a classic exercise for the quads and here’s how it’s done: find a surface to lean on for balance, bend one knee as much as possible, grab your back foot with the hand on the same side and try to hold this position, stretching your heel towards your glutes. Keep changing it until you feel a slight tension in your quads. Hold for 10-15 seconds and change sides. Repeat all the exercises again.
5) Using a step or similar, step up with your front foot and step backwards gently (support and help yourself balance with the other foot) until you feel a pleasant stretch in your calf. Do the exercise for 10-15 seconds before changing sides. Do another set.
Add this to your training routine and you’ll soon feel the benefits!