Happy Wednesday! We are halfway through the week already, where in the world has July gone?! As I was finishing up my run this morning I was thinking about one of my least favorite parts of the routine: stretching. Yuck! Why is it that I can find the motivation to head out for an hour long run, but adding ten minutes of stretching is just so hard?! It’s funny how our brains work.
I made it a goal of mine to stretch after every single run this marathon training cycle, something that I’ve definitely struggled with in the past. I’ve been doing well so far and am falling back into my old stretching routine, something that is tried and true with my past experiences.
I thought I would share some of those stretches with you today! I’ve geared the stretches primarily towards my legs and hips, as those are my weak spots and notoriously the most tight.
I start with a hamstring stretch, and no matter how much I do it, I always find that my hamstrings are ridiculously tight! Once I get my legs situated I just lean forward and reach my hands to touch my toes. I usually hold this one for a full 60 seconds because my hamstrings always need it.
After this I stretch out my hips, with what I call a pretzel stretch. I cross my left foot over to my right thigh, grab behind my right leg (my hamstring), and pull towards my chest. I recently learned that you should always flex your foot when doing this stretch in order to protect your knee. I have definitely been taking this into consideration lately and I can feel a difference when I stretch! I hold this one for 30 seconds on each side.
Next, I stretch my hips. I think this is a pretty standard stretch but it works so well! I start in a lunge and then lower my back leg all the way to the floor. To get an even deeper stretch, you can raise up the opposite arm as your back leg. I usually hold this for 30 seconds on each side.
After this, I stretch my quads. I found this variation on the standard quad stretch (stand on one foot and hold your ankle up near your lower back), and think it works much better! Same idea, but instead of standing I place one foot on the edge of the couch and my knee on the floor. I scoot back so I’m all the way up against the couch, and extend the opposite leg. If you lean your chest back you can get an even deeper stretch here! I hold each side for 30 seconds on this one too.
Next are my calf stretches. I start with the pretty typical stretch, extend one leg back all the way and squat your front leg down while holding on to the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf. I hold this one for 60 seconds on each side because my calves are always tight too.
After this I do the same stretch, but instead of keeping my back leg straight, I bend it at the knee. This stretches your Achilles and the lower part of your calf. I hold this one for 20 seconds on each side.
To finish it out, I always stretch my feet. This has helped me with plantar fasciitis in the past! I curl my toes under and then fully sit down on my heels. When I first started this was incredibly uncomfortable, but it has gotten much better with time! I hold it for 30 seconds.
Well, these are my dreaded daily stretches 😉 I definitely can tell a difference when I do them though! When I am feeling particularly achy in my IT band or shins, I add a couple stretches in for them too, but just can’t make myself do any more after a run:)