As a runner, you thrive on adrenalin. Once you step into your shoes, you can’t wait to hit the ground running. Stretching exercises may be the last thing on your mind, but here’s why you should prioritise them.
Done properly, stretching increases flexibility and the range of motion of your joints, which makes a world of difference to your run. When you’re limber, every movement feels natural and fluid, which means muscle pulls won’t stand a chance. What’s more, you’ll have improved balance, posture and body alignment, putting you in tiptop condition to reach your goals.
Now, take a few minutes before and after your workout to do these stretches recommended by Tracey Soh, a group exercise instructor at True Fitness. They target your oft-neglected running muscles: hamstrings, Achilles tendon, lower back, calves, inner thighs and glutes. “For every stretch, go slow and avoid bouncing. You should be feeling a good amount of tension, but not sharp pain,” says Tracey.
Pre-run: Before stretching, do five to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise – think brisk walking, slow jogging and cycling on a stationary bike – to loosen up your muscles.
Post-run: After a run, stretching promotes blood circulation and help your muscles repair more efficiently. You’ll also become more aware of your body, so you’re less likely to overexert.