5 Essential Post-Run Stretches to Enhance Recovery and Prevent Injury
We all know that warming up our muscles prior to a run is essential to avoid leg cramps and boosts performance, but cooling down after your workout is just as important as your warm up as it enhances recovery and prevents injury. Give your body some TLC post-training with some helpful static stretches to let your muscles recover and prevent injuries so that your body is ready to embrace running strong for the long haul.
Tight hamstrings can hinder your range of motion which can drastically affect your stride and speed when you’re running.
Stand with your feet spread apart hips width distance, hinge at your hips and lower your upper body to let it hang over the legs. Grab opposite elbows and allow your head hang heavy and elongate the back of your neck. Shift the weight to your toes and lean forward like you’re at the edge of a cliff. Micro-bend your knees and breathe into the hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds to feel the intensity of this stretch in your hamstrings.
Quad stretches help strengthen your hamstrings and keep the muscles flexible, which will help you lift your knees and run faster.
To do a basic quad stretch, stand on one leg with your knees touching. Grab your foot and pull your shin towards your glute, ensuring that your knee is pointing to the ground. Hold for about 30 seconds then switch to the other leg.
Stretching your calf muscles can help increase the length of your stride which will help you run faster. It can also help take the stress of your shins which can prevent shin pain.
Stand about an arm’s distance from a wall. Step one leg forward and keep the other one back with your feet remaining parallel. Bend the knee of the forward leg and press through the back heel. Hold for 30 seconds. Do the same for the opposite side then switch sides.
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The piriformis muscle controls the rotation of the hip. When and if it becomes too tight, it can lead to sciatic nerve pain. Stretching after a run can prevent this from happening.
Lie on your back with both feet flat on the floor and both knees bent. Rest your right ankle over the knee of the left leg. Pull the left thigh toward the chest and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. For a deeper stretch hold your shin and gently rock your leg from side to side. Repeat for the opposite leg.
Stretching your chest will help you breathe deeper, get more oxygen, which will help increase your endurance to run harder and longer.
Stand up tall and tuck your chin as you move your head backward. Raise your hands next to your ears. Take a deep breath and lower your elbows down behind your back as you exhale. Hold for 6 seconds then relax for 10. Repeat about 10 times.