So the past week has been a gluten-filled mess of bread, an entire Entemann’s crumb cake that I shamelessly devoured by myself, and less running than I would like. I went rock climbing yesterday, though, and ran about half a mile on the treadmill beforehand–and didn’t die! Which means I decided to run a 5k this weekend. I can run half a mile, which means I can run 3.1, right? I swear, running math is a weird thing. We’ll see how that goes.
Because I’ve been forced to slow down a bit, I’ve been focusing a bit more on resting my body. I think I needed to anyway, with all the pounding I do, regardless of the extra inflammation in my system right now. A few of my clients are notorious for pushing too hard and not stretching, too… as are a lot of my friends. I’m noticing a trend.
So for this week’s workout, you will stretch. Seriously. This doesn’t mean you get to skip this week. You’re gonna actually stretch. I sound like this when I’m training clients, too. The warm-up and cool-down, as well as the stretch, are physiologically beneficial, not just time-wasters. So many athletes are guilty of skipping these parts and they pay the price.
Here are some good stretches, and add in your own:
- Do a traditional hamstring stretch- stand with your legs straight and bend over and try to touch your toes. Hold. Then, bend your knees until you’re squatting all the way down, but point your toes, and place your hands flat on the floor. Hold. Then come back up into the hamstring stretch, trying to take your hands off the floor as little as possible. Repeat several cycles, and see if you can get deeper.
- Runner’s stretch is gold, and not only for runners. This link explains how to do it, and includes a few other stretches.
- Hip flexor stretch–go down on one knee, proposal style. Put your back foot on a raised platform and lean into your front leg. Repeat on the other side.
- Don’t forget to include dynamic stretching as an option. High kicks are great for the hamstrings. Swing through a joint’s full range of motion, especially your hips. Dynamic stretching is physiologically preferable before a workout as opposed to static stretching.
- Foam rollers are also cylindrical gifts from the divine. If you don’t own one, ask to use one at your gym. Your muscles will thank you. (If you’re going to try and max out on a strength exercise, do NOT foam roll those muscles beforehand. There’s evidence that it limits the amount you can lift. Foam roll after the workout.)
Also, I know some pretty cool people. My friend Larissa, a classmate, fellow November Project enthusiast, and crazy yogi is featured on Om Boston’s blog. Check out her article here.
Happy injury prevention, friends!
If you’ve seen these devices and don’t know what they are, this is what a foam roller looks like: