Stretching for Runners on a Time Budget
Think you don’t have time to stretch? Think again…
Runners tell us all the time that they’re “soooo inflexible.” Guess what: Flexibility is like anything — it takes practice. Just like increasing your mileage boosts your endurance, stretching regularly — in an intelligent way that is optimized for your sport — will improve your flexibility and aid your recovery. Wanna know the best part? As much as we’d love to see you in class daily, you don’t need a full hour or even a yoga mat to get it done. Just a few minutes a day will help keep your running legs limber and injury-free…
“What we’ve learned from Erin is simple yet powerful: there are a handful of stretches, that take less than 10 minutes total, that can radically improve your recovery and therefore your performance…”
– Sally Bergesen, Runner and Founder/CEO of Oiselle
5-Minute Hammy Refresh — hold each for 5–8 deep breaths
(NOTE! If you’re super spent, add support by leaning your butt into a wall.)
Pigeon-Toed Standing Straddle Forward Fold
1. Step your feet wide apart, and rotate your thighs “inward” so that your feet are slightly pigeon-toed.
2. Bend your knees a lot and walk your hands down your legs.
3. Rest your hands wherever they land — no need to try to reach the floor.
4. Keep your torso on or very close to your thighs — bend your knees more if you need to.
5. Bend and stretch your legs a few times before coming to stillness.
6. Relax your neck as you drop the weight of your head, and relax your shoulders.
Crossed-Legs Forward Fold
1. Cross your right leg over your left, without locking your knees.
2. Walk your hands down your legs to come into a forward fold.
3. Keep your feet flexed.
1. Step your feet wider than hip’s width apart and rotate your thighs so that your heels turn and your toes turn out a bit.
2. Bend your knees — tracking them over the ankles — to come into a deep squat, keeping your weight back toward your heels (if that feels tough, take your feet farther apart).
3. Rest your arms on your thighs, bring your palms together in front of your chest, or put your hands on the floor.
5-Minute Booty-Lock Mitigation— hold each for 5–8 deep breaths
1. Lie on your back.
2. Take your feet wider than hip’s width and let your thighs drop together (it makes a triangle shape), keeping your feet flexed.
3. See if you can take your feet another inch away from each other, so the knees might not even be touching.
1. Begin in Reclined Hero.
2. Inhale — separate your knees.
3. Exhale — drop your knees to the right/look to the left.
4. Inhale — lift back to center, exhale — knees left/look right.
5. Continuing moving the to rhythm of your breath, just like windshield wipers moving side to side.
1. From Reclined Hero, drop both your knees to your right.
2. Place your right foot on your left thigh and reach your left arm overhead.
3. Reach back through your left hand and reach forward through your left knee — lengthening the left side of your body (if it feels too hard to keep your right foot on the left leg or if either of your knees are uncomfortable, just rest it on the floor instead).
1. Sit down and bend your knees, staggering the right leg in front of the left so that it makes a “pinwheel” shape, with a little bit of space between your right foot and your left knee.
2. Keep both feet flexed.
3. Sit up tall and turn your torso toward your right thigh, and lie down on top of it.
4. When you think you’ve found your resting point, try to lengthen your spine even more, as if you’re pulling your ribs further away from your hips.
If you’ve got 10 minutes, do both of the above sequences. Got a few more minutes to spare? Put your legs up the wall, breathe deeply, and feel ease.