Runners love running, and most dislike all of the other stuff. Other stuff refers to things like stretching, rolling, strength, rehab and basically anything that isn’t a workout or long run. Implementing this quick routine into your schedule can prevent injury, increase mobility and make your run feel better.
Introducing: prehab. The philosophy is simple, prevent injuries before they happen. All you need is a foam roller, and about five minutes in your day. Once this become habit, your run will feel better, and your legs will thank you.
Roll your calves
When you’re rolling, think about it like a seek-and-destroy mission. Start by rolling a general area and if you find something that’s particularly sore or tender, spend a few extra seconds on that spot working it out. Rotate your calf to make sure you hit the belly of the muscle along with the medial and lateral sides. Place one leg over-top of the other to add pressure to the calf your rolling.
This exercise is a two-in-one. While you’re rolling your calves, spend some time rotating your ankle in each direction. Ankle mobility is one of the most overlooked areas in rehab and prehab. Keeping your ankle loose allows your foot to move well.
Photo: Maxine Gravina
This is a lunge with a twist, but it’s worth it. Get into a lunge position with your back knee on the ground. Reach up and then place your elbow inside of the knee that is forward, try your best to touch the ground. If this is feeling difficult, move your point knee a little further back, this will give a hip stretch and mobilize that back. By adding the extension and reaching inside your leg, you promote back mobility and hip-flexor strength.
Roll your back
Moving your back, especially if you work at a desk is invaluable to your overall mobility. This stretch is very easy and feels amazing. Simply foam roll up your spine and once again, if there’s a place that feels particularly tight, spend an extra moment there to loosen it up. One word of caution: for the ladies, don’t foam roll your ponytail. It hurts.
Downward dog with alternating calf stretch
Almost everyone has done the downward dog, and there’s a reason. This yoga position activates and stretches the calves. Once in downward dog position, move your heels up and down the give one side of the body a rest while the other muscle lengthens, and then switch.
The bird dog’s primary function is to activate your glutes. Lift your opposite arm and opposite leg. Once they’re level, hold for a second and bring down, then switch sides.