Today at the Runners' Lounge Take it and Run Thursday, the theme is stretching.
We were asked to pick just one stretch that helps us with our running.
I'm sure everyone has a different favorite. For me, the standing quad stretch is most effective.
I was looking to embed a YouTube video, but many of the ones I found were too long and/or the instructors were doing it wrong!
Many runners do it wrong, too. I linked to an example on SparkPeople above because I liked their description:
Reach back and grab your left foot in your left hand, keeping your thighs lined up next to each other and left leg in line with the hip (not pulled back behind you).People often will pull the bent leg back or to the side, when it should be pointed down, with both thighs parallel.
Breathe deeply and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.
Another option I've seen is to grab the opposite foot -- left foot with right hand / right foot with left hand. I prefer using the same side. I don't get as good of a stretch with opposites.
I tend to have knee problems due to a grab-bag of biomechanical problems. The last time it flared up, a friend of mine (who happens to be a physical therapist and had treated me for a while during and after marathon training) immediately knew what was wrong. Gotta love free advice!
She suggested doing the quad stretch (along with another hip stretch) more often -- not just when exercising. Problem solved!
I don't always do a full stretch routine before and after my runs, but this one is a must for me!