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Stretches Before Running

Stretches before running are important, so that you do not have injuries and also makes you flexible. Hence, if you are into running, you will want to make stretching before running a regular part of your routine.
Previously, all runners would stretch before they started training. However, then started a debate, if stretching before running is really healthy. Due to this debate a number of runners stopped stretching before running. When one is new to running, it is obvious for the person to be torn between the two sides of stretching before running and not stretching before running.

According to the studies, morning runners are more prone to injuries as compared to noontime or evening time runners. In other words, it means if you stretch cold muscles, it will cause injuries. It is really recommended that you stretch muscles, which are not loosened and warmed up sufficiently, else there is a chance of tearing a muscle. Therefore, these days a number of runners have started stretching after warming up and before they start with the hard part of their running routine. This is the correct practice, which should be adopted by any one, who is into running and jogging. Now this brings us to the next part; which are the stretches that should ideally be done before running, which every runner should do. Scroll down to find out which stretches should become a part of your stretching routine.

Stretches to be done Before Running

Although you have warmed up before you perform the stretches, it is important that you be gentle with your muscles and ligaments, else there is a chance of you injuring your muscles or ligaments. Some of the good stretches prior to running are as follows:

Heel Drops
This is one of the important stretches, as it helps in preventing Achilles tendinitis. To do this stretch stand on a curb by standing on the ball of the foot and let the heel hang off the curb. Slowly drop your heels, hold till you count till five and then lift again. Repeat the exercise at least 10 times.

Calf Raises
This calf stretch has to be one of the warm up stretches before you start running, as it helps in preventing Achilles tendinitis and shin splints. Stand on the ball of your feet and lift your heels off the floor. Hold for 5 counts and drop your heels. Repeat this exercise 10 times as well.

Splits
This is one of the hip stretches, which you should not forget before you start with your running practice. This stretch helps in stretching the adductor muscles, located inside of the thighs. Spread your legs as far as you can. Fold your arms at the elbows and gradually start bending down as though you were to touch the crown of your head to the floor. Hold the position, till you count 15 and slowly come back and repeat the exercise again.

Flamingo
If you have tight quadriceps, it will shorten your stride and also decrease your back kick. When the quadriceps are stretched, it helps the hamstring muscles to pick up your heels as you toe off. To do this thigh stretch, stand close to something for support. Balance yourself on one foot and hold on to your feet by placing your heels at the buttocks and with your knees pointing down. If you are able to hold on your toes, you will also end up stretching your shin with this stretch.

Lunges
There is double advantage of doing this stretch. It will not only loosen your hip flexors, but also the groin muscles. Place with your one foot forward and slowly lower your torso. To stretch the hip flexors, keep the toe of the leg behind pointed straight down. When you want to stretch your groin muscles, roll your foot over, such that the inside edge of the feet is flat against the ground. Repeat the stretch on both the legs.

These stretches should also be repeated after running as well. This will help in relaxing the muscles, that have endured the high intensity workout. However, do not forget to warm up before you do the proper stretches before running. If you do not warm up, there are chances of you injuring yourself.
By Bhakti Satalkar
Published: 5/13/2010
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