25 July 2009

Time to stretch and strengthen

In less than six weeks spring will be here and that heralds the start of what I hope will be a come back to running.

I've been maintaining the fitness work over the winter with stationary biking and swimming. Now its time to pick it up a gear and start a more intensive routine of stretching and strengthening to compliment the fitness work and to make sure my body is up to the rigours of running again.

The idea is to try and do each workout at least two times a week. It should take around 30 - 45 minutes. Here's what I've got planned.


Up to 20 reps x two sets each

- Lunge (standing upright, step forward and drop the trailing knee to the floor, rise and bring feet together, repeat on other side)

- Squats (one legged for more difficulty)

- Calf raises

- Toe raise (up to tip toes to strengthen feet muscles)

- Clam (lie on side, bend legs, raise one knee, feet remain together)

- Kick backs ( standing upright and kicking back each leg to work the butt muscles)

- Side plank ( Lie on side, elbow supporting the body, keep body straight, hold for up to a minute the repeat on other side)

- Leg raise (lying on back, keep legs straight and raise them to 90 degrees, slowly)

Stretching / yoga poses

Most of these I got from the Bikram Yoga class I use to attend. I'm still a big fan of Yoga for runners to improve flexibility. While I can not fit a regular Yoga class into my routine at present, hopefully a few key poses a couple times a week will do the trick.

Hold each stretch for up to a minute then repeat the routine. Forgive me for I don't know all the names of these poses so I'm just describing them here;

- Triangle pose - feet apart, arms wide , one foot pointed to side, bend at waist toward that foot, touch toe and stretch to ceiling with other arm.

- Stand with feet two to three feet apart, bend forward , hold heels - Gives a deep hamstring stretch

- Knee to shoulder - lying on back ,hug your left knee to you left shoulder, repeat on the right, then both.

- Airplane - lying on stomach arch the back, lift legs, arms wide.

- Kneeling stretch - kneeling on floor, butt between feet, fall back to stretch quads & improve ankle flexibility.

- Hamstrings stretch - straight leg, head on knee and hold.

- Back twists - sitting on floor, foot to butt, grasp knee with opposite elbow, twist back, look behind.

- Calf stretching

There are some more Yoga poses suited for runner described here. It could be worthwhile including a few of these in the mix also.

Lack of cross training in some of the areas I've mentioned is a common cause of injury due to the muscle imbalances created by running. So why not try to incorporate some of these into your weekly routine if you've been a bit lazy in this area.


Aaron July 26, 2009 at 8:32 AM  

Thanks for the stretching pointers. I'll try some of these.

There is a lot to be said for having good core and other support muscles to maintain good running form and stance.

Ewen July 26, 2009 at 9:26 PM  

Good idea Bruce. While on the planks, the 'front plank' is also a good one - resting on elbows, face down, spine neutral, then slowly raise one leg off the ground, move to the side, back and down.

Abbey July 28, 2009 at 6:38 PM  

Thanks to my successive leg injuries, I had to tone down my exercise regimen and cut my repetitions in half. Even with that lighter load, I still have to take my Ultram just to make it through the exercise. Bah.

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