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 🙂