Hey everyone–

Laura asked me a while back what I do for stretching before/after runs, and I thought I’d post here as well. Enjoy!

BEFORE <5 mins

-stand and lift each heel to your butt to stretch quads,
-butterfly stretch
-pike stretch
-shoulder stretches: first, fold each arm behind your head, grabbing your elbow and pulling it to the side as your palm slides down the middle of your back. second, pull each arm straight across your chest, holding it against your body with the other arm

AFTER 20-30 mins

-butterfly stretch: first, sit with your heels against your crotch; push down on your knees gently until they reach the floor. second, extend your heels out so your legs form a diamond position. then with legs in more of a diamond shape. push your knees gently to the floor, then lower your chest to the floor and extend your arms overhead to the floor.
-one leg pike stretch: sit with both legs out, then bend your left leg in. flex your right foot and reach for your toes. repeat on left leg.
-pike stretch: sit with your legs together straight out in front of you. flex your feet so that you pull your toes back toward you and push your heels out. sit up straight and support yourself from behind and lengthen your spine. then reach for your toes and pull them back toward you. gradually stretch further so that you are grabbing more and more of your shoes until you can grab the heels. if you can’t reach this far, just start at your shins and move downward.
-shoulder stretches: repeat as you did before your run.
-get into downward facing dog with straight arms and legs. push on your hands and lift your hips toward the ceiling, straightening your back. don’t worry about form too much yet, just push it a little on the top half and alternate putting your heels on the floor to stretch your calves.
-bring your hips down and move into a push up position. lower your body to the floor like a pushup, then glide forward into seal pose. try to keep your body off the floor, including your thighs in seal pose.
-push your hips back and move back into downward facing dog. lengthen your spine, push your hips toward the ceiling, straighten your legs, and try to lower your heels to the floor.
-repeat updog and downward facing dog twice more, working more on your form and deepening the stretch.
-while in downdog, lift your right leg straight toward the ceiling. push on your hands and use your back muscles to lift the leg higher. you may need to walk your hands closer to your feet as you lift higher. point your toe! hold, then return to downdog.
-repeat updog and downdog. this time lift your left leg, then return to down dog.
-repeat updog and downdog. lift your right leg again. after several seconds, bend your right leg and rotate your hips so that they are facing to your your right. let the weight of your right leg pull your hips open. hold, then return to down dog.
-repeat updog and downdog. this time lift your left leg, then rotate your hips so that they face to the left, and allow the weight of your leg to stretch your pelvis. return to downdog.
-repeat updog and downdog. push into your hands, lengthen your spine, lift your hips to the ceiling, straighten your legs, and lower your heels to the floor. hold, then exit pose.
-to end, come into bridge pose (the end of a backbend). you can also do dancer’s pose or lord of the dance pose. if you’re doing either of the latter two, make sure to do it on both sides. after any of the three, make sure to follow with back rolls to balance out the arch of the previous pose.

That’s it! As you can see, my after stretching a lot of yoga-type poses. I find this relaxes me after a run and helps me to work on my flexibility and strength in a fun way. Whatever you choose to do, don’t skip stretching, especially after your run. Your body really needs that time to recuperate (I should know–after I stopped stretching during last year’s training, I developed an ankle fracture…NOT fun). If you’re running out of time, it’s better to chop off a half mile of your run and spend 5-10 minutes stretching. Anyway, hope you find that useful, and let me know what you do as well! I’m always looking for something fun and different to do as I rock out to Backstreet Boys or Phillips, Craig and Dean. 😉