Experienced the excruciating pain of barely being able to move the day after a strenuous work out? Neglecting to warm up, cool down and stretch properly after a run could be to blame. Stretching post-workout lengthens muscles which have tightened while exercising and speed up muscle recovery.
Stretching is the best way to relax your muscles after a long run. Try these stretches specifically designed for runners.
Start in a kneeling position, plant your left foot in front of you at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back upright and press forward into your hip, without raising your left knee off the ground. You should feel a stretch in your hip and hamstring. Ensure your knees are aligned over your ankles to avoid discomfort or injury.
The main purpose of the Quadriceps is to move the knee. Tight quads reduce your range of mobility affect the correct alignment of your hips and knees. The best way to stretch your quad is to stand with feet hip-width apart. Reach back and grab your left foot in your left hand pulling it towards your butt. Hold for the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
Calf muscles get quite the workout, but are often neglected when it comes to post-workout stretches. Stand facing a wall, supporting yourself with your hands against the wall - like you're about to do a press up. Place the ball of your foot against the wall leaving your heel on the floor, and lean forwards until you feel a stretch in your calf. Repeat on the other leg.