How is the week treating you? Hopefully not too bad!
As many of you know, I am training for my first FULL marathon. Last week, I ran my final and longest long run of the training program at 20 miles. I still can’t believe I did it!
While a balance of cross training, rest and proper nutrition really helped me get through that run, STRETCHING is also a huge component to any kind of physical training, especially running.
While I add new stretches into the routine here and there, these 5 stretches have been with me since the beginning of marathon training. My hips, calves, and IT band tend to get super tight so those are the areas I focus on while stretching.Simple stretches focusing on hips, hamstrings, glutes, and IT band Click To Tweet
Check out my go to moves:
My outer hips get super tight while running, so this stretch really helps open them up. I was first introduced to this stretch in a yoga class that was totally focused on hip opening. That class was definitely an eye opener as to how tight I really am!
To do this stretch, sit on your bottom and place one leg in front of you at 90 degrees while flexing your foot. Then, place the other leg on top (like stacking logs on a fire…) and flex that foot as well. You could just stop here if you really feel the stretch, but if you want to get a bit deeper you can begin to hinge forward in the stretch. Full expression of this stretch is to have your knees touching your feet (clearly I am nowhere near there!) Make sure to repeat on the other side.
My hamstrings are always really tight, so I need to pay special attention to them while I am running. For this stretch, simple lie down on your back with your bottom scooted as close to the wall as possible. Extend your legs up in the air and feel the release in the back of your legs. If you need a deeper stretch, you can pull your leg in closer to your head and body by gently pulling on your calf or your hamstring.
The IT band runs along the outside of your thigh, and when it gets tight it can often cause knee pain. To complete this stretch, cross one leg in front of the other and hinge forward from the hips. I am not flexible at all so I am nowhere near touching the ground or my toes, but go as far as your body will allow and feel the release in the side of your thigh. Make sure to switch sides.
This is another great hip opener! For the figure 4, just lie down on your back and place both feet flat on the ground. Cross the right foot over the left knee and reach your hands in between the figure “4” shape. Gently pull the leg in closer to the body and feel this stretch open up the hips and the glutes.
While I like to foam roll MANY areas, when I’m running I really try to focus on my calves and my IT band. To foam roll, simply roll the body part you are focusing on over the roller and hold for about 10-30 seconds in any area that you feel more tension. This will help release the tension and allow for quicker recovery.
Share some of your favorite stretches! I’m always looking for ways to improve my flexibility 🙂
Based on this post, here are a few similar ones you should check out.
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Great reminders and explications! New to running I’ve reached my 4.2 marker plan on more miles. My calves and arch on foot hurt and get tight, bummer! Also any tips on best food to eat as a runnner?
Hi Olivia! Thanks for reading and congratulations on making the 4.2 mile mark!! That’s awesome! Make sure to stretch well after each run. I find that really stretching out my hips (and practicing yoga) help me with my foot and calf tightness. When it comes ot food to eat as a runner, I find that to be a very individual question. I always revert to real-whole foods rather than bars, energy drinks, gels, etc. If you have more specific questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail and I’d be happy to answer!! 🙂
Great to have a window into someone else’s stretching routine 😉 I love Phil Whartons stretching plus just recently found the spikey ball great for relieving tension in glutes and a percussive electric massager and foam rolling for all muscles. I’m training for my 1st mara in October.
Thanks for the tips! I haven’t tried a spiky ball, but love the stick and foam roller. Seriously makes all the difference!
It was a great helpful post for me, Tara! Thanks!
I did my first 10 miler yesterday! 😉
So glad this post was helpful, Shiva! 🙂 Good job on 10 miles!
My hips are the first thing to hurt after a long run and I love doing the pigeon pose to make them feel better. I’ve never tried the double pigeon before but it sounds like a good one. I’ll have to give it a try next time. Thanks for sharing!
Yes! Pigeon pose is wonderful after running! Thanks for the reminder! Sometimes it’s good to take it back a step 🙂
I do a lot of downward dog stretches as well! I wish I could foam roll at work. That is the best thing ever!
Oh goodness! Downward dog is great after a run!!
I get really tight calfs and hamstrings from sprinting, so I always do some stretches for those! Definitely want to add in the wall one!
Yes! Foam rolling my calves really helps.
Foam rolling was always a post run essential!
OMG I think we’re twinsies (minus the fact a half is about all I can do!). I just started doing that leg wall stretch and its my new fav. I need to get better about religiously stretching after my runs, and in writing this, better get to it since I just got back from my tempo run :). Come run in San Diego with me :)!
Isn’t that wall stretch thing the best! I feel so goofy but LOVE the way it feels! Would LOVE to run in San Diego with you 🙂
Training for my first full marathon this fall also- 16 miler on the schedule for the weekend, will definitely be revisiting your tips! Good luck with training 🙂
Good luck!! You will do so great 🙂
These are all so good! A while ago I also did my favorite stretches and we have a ton in common. They just feel so good! I love doing any stretch that opens your hips, so I look for videos targeted for that area. I also love to just sit in legs up the wall while I watch TV shows..feels so good
They do feel SO good!
I have seriously tight hips (from having two babies!) so I’m always stretching and do some yoga poses that will help loosen them up!
Yes! The happy baby pose is another hip opener I love.