How to stretch after a run? Our #loleambassador Marianne Long guides us through our post-race stretching to optimize the training and avoid any injuries. What better way to kick off the outdoor racing season!
Here are a few little stretching exercises that will help when you’re running a race. They will improve your flexibility, which is essential, not only in making your running more fluid, but also to avoid any injuries!
Should you stretch before or after the race? This is the big question, and it does not have a precise answer, because there are several schools of thought. When I set out to run, I usually do some dynamic or warm-up stretches before the race, in other words, a few physical movements (shoulder rolls, lateral leg balancing)that help to increase blood circulation around the body and prepare it for some physical activity.
Static stretches, such as those you can see in the photos, can be performed right after the race to help you recuperate or even a few hours afterwards, especially if it was a high intensity race. Your stretches will be beneficial no matter when you choose to do them. What’s important is to do them!
Standing quadriceps stretch
The anterior (front) thigh muscle gets a lot of use during a race; it is therefore important to stretch it adequately.
Stand up straight;bending the knee back, holdyour ankle or foot in your hand behind you; then pull your heelup towards your buttocks. Keep the spine upright, the head straight and the abdominal muscles contracted.
This stretch is really efficient because you’re also stimulating the stabilizing muscles of your supporting leg.
Hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds on each leg.
Standing calf stretch
Your calf muscles (gemellus and soleus muscles, attached to the Achilles tendon) get a huge workout during a footrace, because they propel you forward with each step and therefore deserve a good stretch!
Adopt a standing position and stretch one leg straight out behind the other, turning your foot outwards slightly and keeping your heels on the floor for support. Push the pelvis forward, bending the front knee. Keep the body straight and the abdominal muscles contracted. You can also support yourself by placing your hands against a wall.
Hold for 30 to 45 seconds .
Groin muscle stretch
The groin muscles work hard to keep you laterally stable during a foot race. To increase their flexibility and for good control, you’ll need to stretch them.
Stand with your feet parallel on the ground, slightly wider apart than your shoulder width. Bend one knee over your toes, keeping your foot flat on the floor for support, and stretch the other leg out sideways – you’ll feel the stretch! Keep the body straight and the abdominal muscles contracted.
Hold for 30 to 45 seconds and then change legs and repeat.
Copy: Marianne Long
Photos: Julie Francoeur