Intense running training – while its positive effects on fitness and the release of endorphins cannot be denied – can also lead to muscle pain or mechanical injuries. However, this can be prevented with stretching and a few exercises.
Stretching is a must!
There is a common belief among amateur runners that stretching after training is not something necessary – after all, they are not professional athletes. This attitude is a serious mistake! In fact, amateurs should pay special attention to stretching, since they are the ones who combine their passion with their daily duties, which are usually performed in a sitting position. This, in turn, leads to the occurrence of tensions, which necessarily need to be relieved in some way. Otherwise, we expose ourselves not only to more or less discomfort during running, but also to dangerous injuries.
It is worth noting that lack of time is not an excuse in the context of stretching, since it can be effectively performed in the space of just 10 minutes. If you devote even this short time to this undemanding but necessary activity, you will receive a number of benefits. Regular stretching after training, among other things, definitely reduces the feeling of stiffness and the risk of injury, while increasing muscle flexibility and range of motion. In addition, stretching is associated with improved blood circulation, accelerated recovery and reduced muscle contracture.
But what if stretching alone proves insufficient and muscle soreness persists? Then it’s best to enrich your workout routine with some simple leg exercises. It is worth paying special attention to several muscles that play a key role in running.
Sciatic and shin muscles
To strengthen these muscles, we lie on our back and bend our right leg. We catch the knee with both hands and draw the thigh firmly to the chest, keeping the other leg straight on the ground at the time. We spend 20 seconds or longer in this position, depending on the degree of progress.
The exercise for these muscles is as simple as it is effective. We sit down in a kneeling position with our straightened feet sticking to the ground with the upper side at all times. We try to hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
One of the most important muscles for runners. In order to strengthen them, we can perform the following exercise: put one leg straight on a stable elevation reaching to the height of the knees. Point the toes of the foot in its direction, and then perform a straight-back bend, reaching with the left hand to the right foot and vice versa. Hold the position for 20 seconds.
Another muscle that even Sunday runners absolutely must take care of. We stand up straight, with feet set at shoulder width. Then catch one foot by the top of its back and pull the heel so that it touches the buttock. Note that your knees should be close together when performing this activity.
The calves, often overlooked by runners, should not be forgotten either! Just stand on any elevation, extend one of your feet backwards (so that the heel is in the air) and lower your heels below toe level.
main photo: unsplash.com/Andrew Tanglao