Flexible calf muscles can improve your ability to increase the length of your stride, which results in increased speed. Loose calf muscles also take some of the burden away from your shins as you bring your trailing leg forward when running, helping prevent shin pain or shin splints. This basic calf stretch is an easy one to incorporate. Check out this video for more calf stretching demonstrations.
Iliotibial (IT) Band Stretch
The illiotibial band is part of a muscle that runs along the outside of the knee and can create pain when it starts to rub on the kneecap. This is typically an overuse injury (trying to do too much too soon or not giving your body adequate time for rest and recovery). Stretches that target the IT band, like the example below, can reduce pain and prevent future knee problems.
Try this routine at the end of each run (after cooling down) and see if it makes a difference in your running performance and progress. It doesn't take long to notice improvements in flexibility, so take the time to stretch and your running legs will thank you for it!
6 Stretches Every Runner Should Do
How to Properly Stretch After You Run
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