With increased running mileage comes a higher awareness of how the muscles are feeling. Since we’ve been running, we always warm up a little and have a gentle stretch of the key muscles before we start, followed by a deeper and longer stretch of these muscles after the run, when fully warmed up.
The morning after a long run I would wake up feeling a little stiff from the previous days endeavours, so we started stretching in the mornings, right after jumping out of bed.
Its been a revelation! Now after several more months, we stretch the major muscle groups every morning without fail, before doing anything else (well, except for maybe a pee! 😉 ). Obvious benefits we have seen are; increased flexibility, quicker recovery, better balance & stability and a better feeling of wellbeing each day.
There is lots of advice online about stretching, so much it can be a bit confusing. The best thing to do is find out from a reliable source how to stretch the key muscles safely before starting out. Other than that it’s down to the individual to find how & when it suits them to do it.
Runners World has some running specific advice on stretching.
Each morning now we spend 10 minutes or so simply and very gently stretching the major muscles whilst still warm after getting up. It feels great in both the muscles and the mind and we find it a really nice way to start the day. Do not over stretch or bounce into the stretch when not fully warmed up though! I cannot stress enough that these morning stretches we do are very gentle. We stretch the same way after a run, but as the muscles are then fully warmed up, the stretch can be deeper and held for longer.
I have used this great website for many years now, and it has not only a very large directory of all the muscles in the body and how to exercise them individually, but also good descriptions on how to stretch the muscles. I guess it’s not too dissimilar to taking part in yoga, and we’ve been meaning to look into yoga for a while now, but at least it is a good start and we really feel the benefits of a simple 10 minutes each morning to start the day.
Specific stretches we do in the morning:
Back (Lats) Stretch
Lower Back Stretch
Anterior Shoulder & Bicep
Deltoid Shoulder Stretch