I make no secret of my dislike of stretching. I hate it. However, I have come to accept that there are 3 stretches that *most* runners would benefit from doing regularly. I say *most* because there are the inevitably lucky few who are naturally flexible. I hate you.
Anyway, the 3 stretches are:
- Hip flexor stretch. Modern living has messed us up – sitting for large parts of the day (at a desk, watching TV, in the car…) means that our hip flexors get short and super tight. Consequently, this also lengthens and weakens the hamstrings…maybe re-think whether you do in fact need to stretch your hamstrings - chances are they are weak, not tight.
- Calf stretch. This kind of goes with our propensity for weak and under-firing hamstrings and glutes, in that our quads and calves take up the slack. Tight calves are often are symptom (not necessarily the problem) for issues further up the chain, but I still reckon that there’s benefit to lengthening them out. (Particularly as I am having plantar fascia issues with my feet that are the direct result of tight calves from running up hills and stairs)
- Foam rolling. Yeah, so not quite a ‘stretch’, I still put it in the same category. Foam rolling doesn’t lengthen muscles in the same way as stretching, but it loosens up trigger points in muscles…basically clears up the ‘junk’. I foam roll my calves, quads, hamstrings, and my butt, but others do their back and other stuff too (I go for the bare minimum…).
Have I missed any that you consider ‘must-do’?
See you out there – Juddy