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Stretching for Runners

Today we look at why it is important for runners to stay loose.

The next most important thing, to training the right way, and having the right shoes, is stretching.

Doing your pre and post- run stretches are the most important thing that will prevent you from getting injuries.

When stretching you need to stretch to the point where it feels comfortable, and you know your muscle is being lengthened. If there is a tight tugging in your muscles you should not stretch past this point. If there is pain or discomfort you should not keep pushing the stretch through as this will result in injury.


So how should one stretch? Well, make sure you ease into the stretch and do not bounce nor snap into the position. Snapping quickly into the stretch will result in pulling or tearing of the muscle. Your muscles must be stretched gradually. If a stretch is applied too quickly, the muscle responds with a strong contraction, increasing tension. If the stretch is applied slowly, however, this contraction reflex is avoided, muscle tension falls, and you may stretch the muscle further. So, the ideal way to stretch is to stretch slowly and hold the stretch for 30 to 40 seconds.


1. Back Scratch

Clasp both hands in front of you, extend forward and round your back. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat.

2. Wall Calf Stretch

Stand about three feet from a wall, feet at shoulder width and flat on the ground. Put your hands on the wall with your arms straight for support. Lean your hips forward and bend one leg in, while extending back with the other. You should feel the stretch on the extended leg. Repeat for other leg.

3. Bridge

Lie on your back and, with your feet flat on the ground, lift your hips up until your body forms a flat plane. Repeat this one ten times for 30 seconds each to stretch your quads and lower back.

4. Heel To Buttock

Stand on one foot, with one hand on a wall for balance. Hold the other foot with the opposite hand and raise the heel of the lifted foot to the buttocks (or as close as comfortably possible), stretching your quadriceps. Keep your body upright throughout. Change legs and repeat.

5. Hip & Lower Back Stretch

Sit on the ground with your legs crossed. Lift your right leg and cross it over the left, which should remain bent. Hug the right leg to your chest and twist the trunk of your body to look over your right shoulder. Change legs and repeat (i.e. looking over your left shoulder).

6. Hamstring & Back Stretch

Extend one leg, put the weight on the back leg and press down and forward with your body gently, till you feel the stretch in your hamstring. Repeat for other leg.

7. Groin Stretch

Seated, put the soles of your feet together. With your elbows on the inside of your knees, gradually lean forward and gently press your knees toward the ground

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