5 Stretches To Do Before Running : Typically, athletic runners want to push themselves to the limits during extensive training. However, in doing so, injuries may happen, which can prevent them from achieving their next goals. This is where stretching comes into play. Doing some warm-up stretches before running can reduce the risk of injuries since it keeps your muscles flexible, thereby ensuring full motion of your joints and muscles.
Thus, if you’re a competitive runner, below are the top five stretches to do before running.
Basic Feet Exercises
Extensive running may increase your risk of foot injuries, including heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and many others. When you suffer from a foot injury, an evaluation by a foot surgeon and valuable advices from running experts may help you determine the underlying cause of pain and the potential course of treatment.
If you don’t want foot injuries to ruin your running performance, it’s best to perform some stretching exercises to warm up your feet, toes, or ankles. These can include:
- Foot taps – All you need to do is sit, with your feet flat on the floor, and tap them for at least 50 times to keep your heels down.
- Toe lifts – Pick up a marble using your toes and hold it for at least 20 seconds. Repeat and switch feet after one.
- Heel and toe walks – Spend a few minutes on your heels instead of your toes.
- Toe spelling – Start by elevating one foot, and then write an alphabet using your toes.
One of the best stretches you can perform before your running session is the lunges. Aside from being effective, doing lunges may help prevent injuries on your knees during a grueling training process.
Thus, if you want to do this stretching exercise correctly, the following steps should be taken into account:
- Stand up tall.
- Step forward with your right leg.
- Lower your body until you reach the 90-degree angle, with your right knee forming a lunging position.
- Lift your front lunging leg to go back to the starting position.
- Perform the lunges ten to 12 times until your body is warmed up by activating the muscles and hips in your body.
Another stretching exercise to do before running is planking. When you do plank, you’ll be able to work out your core and make it a lot stronger. Generally, having a stronger core can make your running more stable since your core muscles will be able to support your spine properly, and, as a result, improve your running endurance.
If you’re planning to do both short-term and long-term runs, here’s how you can get the most out of a plank:
- Place your hands under your shoulders.
- Position toes onto the floor and squeeze glutes to strengthen your body.
- Look at a spot on the floor about a foot afar your hands by neutralizing your neck and spine.
- Stick with such a position for 20 seconds, and as you get comfortable with it, hold your plank as long as you can without injuring yourself.
Your calf muscles located at the back of your lower legs may experience soreness and injuries if you don’t stretch them properly. This is one reason why you should perform calf stretching before you begin your running sessions.
Here’s how you can stretch your calf muscles correctly:
- Stand with your right foot in back of your left.
- Flex your left leg forward while keeping the right leg in a straight position.
- Make sure to straighten your back and hold that move for at least 30 seconds.
- Repeat the whole process with the other leg.
These are also popular stretches you can do before running. By performing leg swings before taking the first steps of your run, you provide yourself with a good chance of running with symmetric hips, thereby lowering the risk of injury. Also, with this stretch exercise, you’ll get a range of motion necessary to move that joint and produce power when you need it.
To make full benefit of leg swings as a stretching exercise before running, you can start by doing the following:
- Look for a wall or fence, and stand beside it for support when you begin swinging your leg forward and back.
- Keep your torso straight and tall, and swing one leg comfortably forward and back for at least ten times.
- Repeat the move with the other leg.
Indeed, stretching is essential before running. No matter what type of running you’re going to do, it can help your body get ready for an extensive physical activity. Thus, if you’re an athletic runner, don’t hesitate to give these stretches a try to ensure maximum running performance afterward.
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