Stretching and Mobility for Running
Whether you're up to your 4th week of running, or just kicking off - its normal to feel some tightness or strain in certain parts of your body. This week we'll have a look at some of the common areas that can do with a bit of extra attention when our weekly steps increase.
Unless you're hypermobile, the more stretching you can do, the better. But just a couple of minutes, 2-3 times a week can have a positive impact.
Calves: Because this is one of the smallest muscle groups in the gait cycle chain, it can be an area that pulls up sore regularly. In particular, if you're a midfoot or toe strike runner, or practising going that way. A great stretch is the Heel drop, which can be done off a step to lengthen the calf and soleus muscle.
Hip Flexors: Are responsible for pulling your knee up as your foot leaves the ground. Thousands of times doing this can tighten this muscle and even create a bit of tilt through the pelvis and lead to increase lumbar curve and potentially back pain.
Lower Back: Can go hand in hand with tight hip flexors. Particularly if you've already got a pronounced curve in your lower back, a forward fold with twist can help to relieve the tension, and give a bit of length to the hammys.
Thoracic Spine: If you're tight through the chest & shoulders and do alot of sitting, increased running volume can lead to the mid/upper back becoming rounded and losing its natural curve. Extension over a foam roller, or even laying on a bed, and dropping your back over the edge can release this area.
Pec Stretch: As above, lengthening the front can be really helpful to pull the shoulders back and improve running posture.
Wall Angels: Another postural exercise to pull the shoulders back, while challenging the mobility in the joint.
There are literally hundreds of different stretches that may help you stay mobile for running. The best approach is to do what feels good - ask your trainer, and check out Mobility Class 6:30pm Monday and Flex at 8:00am Saturday.