Monday, September 14, 2015

Running articles: stretching, warming up, and form

I like to read about running, and wish I had a better place to keep all the articles I read and want to remember (no, I am not doing Pinterest). Anyway, here are three I recently read that I want to remember. I have traditionally been a "static" stretcher - that's how I was taught in school umpteen years ago - so I am trying to transition to better pre-run stretching (I have been doing some simple yoga moves this summer).

Each of these are good articles. I have listed the main points from each, but they also have more info in the article if you're interested in this sort of thing.

Swing one leg out to the side, then swing it back across your body in front of your other leg. Repeat 10 times on each side. Feel wobbly? Hold onto a steady object.

While standing tall, walk forward with an exaggerated backswing so that your heels come up to your glutes. When this is easy, try it while jogging. Do 10 reps on each side.

Get in a "pike" position (hips in the air). Put your right foot behind your left ankle. With your legs straight, press the heel of the left foot down. Release. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Lift your left leg up, bending the knee so it points out. Try to tap the inside of your left foot with your right hand without bending forward. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Keeping your back and knees straight, walk forward, lifting your legs straight out in front and flexing your toes. Advance this by adding a skipping motion. Do 10 reps on each side.

Step forward using a long stride, keeping the front knee over or just behind your toes. Lower your body by dropping your back knee toward the ground. Maintain an upright posture and keep your abdominal muscles tight.
Step 1: Walk before you run.
Step 2: Point massage.
Step 3: Be dynamic.
Try these dynamic stretches:
Hip Circles:
Walking Lunges:
Butt Kicks:
Monster Walk:
Leg Swings: 
Maintain a short, quick stride. Do not try to lengthen your stride; avoid reaching forward with your foot, which can lead to overstriding and will set you up for injury. 
Keep your knee in line. Make sure your foot strikes under your knee, not in front of it, which can lead to injury. It doesn’t matter whether the heel or forefoot hits the ground first, as long as your foot is not in front of your knee. This is especially important when running downhill. 
Push up and off. Focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you. 
Watch your elbows. Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less. 
Relax your hands. Keep hands loose and below your chest. Make sure your hands don’t cross your midline and your hands don’t punch forward, both of which can throw off your gait. Pay careful attention to this when you’re carrying something like a music player or a dog leash. Switch hands halfway through the workout if possible. 
Work your core. When starting a running program, it is also a great time to start working on your core strength, particularly your glutes and abdominal muscles.  A strong core makes it easier to stay upright—even when you’re tired—and avoid leaning too far forward from your hip, which can lead to injury.