Casual Runner
Warm up and cool down, part 2

After a run, regardless of the type of run, I do several stretching exercises designed to help minimize soreness.  At least that’s the idea behind it and it seems to help.

  • Hamstring stretch, 2 sets (20 sec per set per leg); I do this by putting my heel on the ground and keeping my toes high (works better if you use a wall or curb to prop up your foot.  At the same time leaning forward (in the same direction as the leg with the heel on the ground) while keeping the leg being stretched straight.  The leg that isn’t being stretched can be bent to help maintain balance.  
  • Standing straddle stretch, 2 sets (20 sec long each set)
  • Lateral stretches, 2 sets (20 sec long each set).  This might look and feel awkward.  This stretch is designed to stretch the IT (Iliotibial) band.  When you start feeling pain on the outside of your knees, it is because your IT band is getting strained or is rubbing against parts of your leg, causing it to get irritated.  The lateral stretch helps reduce the soreness and keeps the IT band from getting tight.  To do this stretch on your right leg, you would have to find a wall or something to hold on to on your right side; then you would cross your left leg in over your right leg that is stretch out resting on the outside of the foot.  The left leg is then carrying most of the weight.  As you bend the left leg and go lower, you are stretching the IT band.
  • Quad stretches, 2 sets (20 sec each set).  To do this on your right quadriceps, stand on your left leg while you hold on to something with your left; then bring your right heel up to your butt and pull it up with your right hand.

On a side note, keep hydrated before, during, and after a run.  Drink water or something like gatorade to keep your body hydrated.

In my next post, I’ll explain to you my own experience with hydration and its importance to running and daily life.