July 15, 2024

Stretch for Runners

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Standing Inner Thigh and Hamstring Stretch

Do this stretch for runners after your next workout. Begin standing and pull your right foot up in front of your belly button. Move your right knee to the side of your body. Hold your lower leg and ankle with both hands, keeping  your lower leg parallel to the floor. Keep your torso straight and shoulders back. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then release. Repeat pulling your left foot up in front of your body. Using both hands hold your left calf and ankle, letting your knee fall to the side. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then release.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise. This stretch is for those without injury concerns.



Interested in Running?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Start a Running Program!

So you’re interested in running to help your fitness? A common mistake of many beginning runners is doing too much too soon. Here’s how to get started effectively and safely:


Start with walk/jog intervals. Perform a walking warm up for 10 minutes, then start with 3-5, 10-30 second jogging intervals followed by 1-2 minute walking recovery intervals, complete your workout with a 10 minute walking cool down.

Wear running shoes. Go to your local sporting goods store and ask about running-specific shoes. Proper footwear is essential with high-impact fitness.

Listen to your body. When beginning a running program, listen to your body and level of soreness. Muscle aches are okay when starting new exercise, consistent pain is not.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Re-Evaluate your Running by Matt Fitzgerald

Running is a rewarding sport and a great way to get fit, but proper progression is essential to long-term sustainable running. Because of its high-impact nature, running can lead to a more overuse injuries than non-impact forms of exercise such as swimming and bicycling.

Re-evaluate your running often to prevent aches and pains. Here are five specific measures critical for long-term sustainable running:

Ease into it. Experienced runners are more resistant to injuries than beginners because their legs have adapted to the repetitive impact of running by becoming more durable. But getting to that point is tricky, because running initially breaks down bone, muscle, and connective tissue before rebuilding it stronger than before. This is when the risk of injury is greatest. 

To minimize this risk you need to give your legs time to rebuild between runs. When you start a new running program you should run every other day at the most. As you progress, heed the 10 percent rule: Don’t increase your mileage or the distance of your longest run by more than 10 percent from week to week.

Listen to your body. Most of the overuse injuries that force runners to miss weeks of training start off as mild aches and pains. If you react to these warning signs quickly by ceasing to run immediately and taking a day or two off, you’ll prevent small problems from becoming big ones.

Strength train. Research has shown that weightlifting and other forms of strength training reduce injury risk in runners by increasing stability in key joints (especially the knees and hips.) Perform functional strength workouts that focus on the core, glutes, hips and legs two or three days a week.

Fix your form. Some of the most common running injuries are connected to abnormalities in an individual runner’s stride. If you do become injured, visit a physical therapist with lots of experience with runners to identify the flaw that contributed to your problem, as well as outline a progam to correct it. Trying to change your stride on your own may do more harm than good. However, one exception is the little trick of trying to make less sound when your feet land. This will force you to run with less impact force and may reduce your injury risk.

Matt Fitzgerald is the author of RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel. He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports.

Top 3 Tips for Injury-Free Running Written by Julie Mulcahy

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Top 3 Tips for Injury-Free Running Written by Julie Mulcahy

Have you been running for a while now, and recently experienced some aches and pains? Nothing is more frustrating than getting a great running program started, only to be sidelined with a running injury. There are a few common mistakes people make that can cause running injuries. Here are your three top tips for injury-free running:

Running shoes. It is very important to have appropriate running shoes. The shoes your running partner wears may not be the best for your foot type. Shoes fall into a few categories including motion control, neutral, cushioning and minimalist. Reputable running shops have staff educated to help you select the right shoe and determine the right fit based on your foot type.  Some running shops utilize a force plate to the help determine foot type. As you stand on the force plate it measures how your foot bears your body weight. Good quality running shoes can range in price from $80-130. This may seem like quite an investment, but time and frustration of an injury can be much more costly. A good trick is to ask about older models of shoes. Shoe stores often have sales on older versions of a shoe because the color pattern has been discontinued.

Distance. Ramping up distance too quickly is a very common reason runners become injured. Increase up your distance slowly. Your muscles, ligaments and bones need time to adjust to the impact of running. If you are just beginning a running program, start with a gentle walk-run combination. Try to maintain a comfortable pace where you can carry on a conversation while running. As you ramp up your miles, add about 10% per week as a reasonable goal. If you are experiencing unusual fatigue, take a week to drop back your mileage. You may even notice feeling stronger and faster coming back from a drop-back week. 

Terrain. Keep in mind that most roads are sloped, changing the direction about every other run, allows both legs to experience the changes in the terrain. Also, different surfaces can utilize different muscles in the body. Trail running requires significant ankle strength to adjust to the constantly changing terrain while road running can place more impact on the body. Suddenly changing the terrain your body is used to can potentially cause an injury. Make changes gradually so your body can get accustomed to the new demands. If you are adding hills to your route, add them gradually on shorter runs.

Most importantly to remain injury-free, listen to your body! Muscle fatigue is a normal result that can occur with any new exercise. However, if discomfort persists or becomes worse, see your health care professional to assist you in getting back on the road pain-free.
This article is written by Julie Mulcahy, MPT. Julie is a licensed Physical Therapist with over 19 years experience in sports medicine and orthopedics. Julie is also busy mom of 4 children and a marathon runner. She may be reached by email jam82296@hotmail.com or @PTrunningmomof4 on Twitter.