When you run your muscles contact and expand. Hundreds of times, maybe even thousands for long distance runners. Tight muscles and joints can lead to all sorts of injuries including knee pain, lower back pain, plantar fasciitis, muscle cramps.
Working on your flexibility and mobility as a runner means you will:
– run faster
– run for longer
– recover faster
– reduce the risk of injuries – including muscle cramps, pulled muscles, lower back pain, plantar fasciitis
– improve blood circulation
Furthermore the focus of you stretch and mobility exercises should be not only on lower body but also hips, AND upper body. Why? Because firstly running in a full body movement, second notice how your body moves in diagonal – left leg with right arm, right leg with left arm – there is a rotation in the body every time you step. Third, upper body muscles have to contract and expand just like the lower body, otherwise that rotation wouldn’t take place, it would be very uncomfortable, tight, and at risk on injury.
Are 10 min of stretching at the beginning and end of your run enough?
Not really. I mean come on, do you think that after running 5 km 10 min of quick stretches will release the muscles and joints? If you help every stretch for 10-15 sec, and you stretched your whole body, 10 min wouldn’t be enough.
– having 2 shorter running sessions per week that begin with 10 min stretches and end with a 30 min stretch – full body
– signing up for a weekly yoga and/or pilates class
– natural movement fitness (the kind that we do here at The Merisoiu Technique Institute)
Remember, the whole body needs to be flexible, mobile and strong for a runner to be complete.
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