As much as we love running, we have to admit that sometimes there are days when the best part is when it’s over. With the shower beckoning and a growling stomach, taking time to stretch might feel like, well, a stretch. Remember, folks, it doesn’t take much. Just a few minutes spent lengthening your muscles is sooooo worth it later…
Try it: Post-Run Hamstring Refresh
While this Jasyoga sequence can be used pre- or post-run, we especially love it post-run to help mitigate hamstring and hip stiffness. The pair of poses below will re-lengthen your hamstrings to help maintain your muscle pliability — which is critical for a long, strong stride. They also stretch the muscles around your outer hips and even the hard-to-access calf and shin (shin splints, anyone? Ugh!). Plus knee stabilization for injury prevention is an added bonus.
Hold each stretch for 5 – 10 deep breaths. Do both on the same leg before switching sides.
You don’t even have to take your kicks off!
Hit the front —
- Come into a runner’s lunge with your right foot in front and your left knee on the ground — make sure your stride is long/just slightly out of your comfort zone (IE it should almost feel a bit too long)
- Keeping your right foot flat, straighten that leg as much as you can without locking the knee — put blocks or solid water bottles under your hands if you can’t reach the ground
- Press your right foot strongly into the ground — you should feel a stretch in the front of your ankle/shin, as well as in the hamstrings
- Keep your spine long (rather than hunching down over the straight leg) — engaging your core will help
- Without moving your right foot, try to take your right hip a little further “back” away from your right shoulder — this is a subtle adjustment but you should feel the stretch move toward your right outer hip
- Scan your body and practice being as efficient as possible — focus on where you feel the stretch and relax everywhere else (neck, shoulders, etc. should be on vacation)
Now the back —
- Keep everything the same as in part one but flex your right foot so your toes point up — you should feel a stretch in your calf, as well as the hamstrings
- Be sure your right knee isn’t locking and again try to take your right hip “back” — it’s kind of like your right heel is stuck but you’re trying to drag it toward you
Ready to take it a step further? Try both stretches with your back knee off the ground: