Stretching & Foam Rolling To Avoid Running Injuries

In today’s video I’m talking to you new moms who may be starting to get back into running. Running is a really great exercise – great for your heart, great to help to clear your mind, it helps you lose weight and just get your me time back. But along with running, a lot of people don’t take the time to stretch or foam roll afterwards, and that can create a lot of injuries. So in this video I want to share some really great way to stretch and to foam roll. So let’s get started!

Runner’s Stretch Sequence:

1. Standing Quad Stretch (0:30)

So after your run and you’re still standing, try to catch your breath and cool down. This is the classic runner’s stretch and we’re going to go ahead and start there. So grab the foot from behind. You want to stand tall. Make sure the knee is pointed down to the ground and the knees are lined up together so it’s not in front and that makes the hip flexor even more tight. With this stretch, we want expansion or openness. Grab the ankle, point the toes back and squeeze the glutes and then lift your chest and hold. Now breathe in through the nose and out to the mouth. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds or just a few extra breaths, 5 or 6 breaths. Next, repeat on both sides.

2. Hamstring Stretch (1:00)

After that, find a bench or a chair or something nearby, something stable that you can throw your leg up on and just hang on and lean forward. To make sure you feel this and make it effective, let’s look a little closer. So standing with your bottom foot facing forward. With your top leg, you’re going to point the toes up and maybe slightly into the middle. Now, you just want to tip from the hip. Lean forward. You already feel a stretch in the hamstring and by pulling those toes up, you’re activating the calf so you get even more of a stretch and you can reach down just as far as you’re able to make sure you feel a nice hamstring stretch. We’re going to breathe here. Five to six deep breaths. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on both sides.

3. Hip Stretch (1:45)

Next we’re going to get into the hips because those get really tight and they hold a lot of muscles while you’re running. It’s really important to get into there. So standing, hold on to something for balance. You going to cross your ankle over knee and then go ahead and sit down. Lift your chest up and you will immediately feel the stretch and those glutes. Pull the toes up so you to keep your knees nice and safe. You’re going to slide down with every exhale. Hold for five to six breaths or 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on both sides.

4. Calves Stretch (2:10)

Next, it’s really important to make sure that you get your calves stressed out. They are the smaller muscles, but they work the hardest. So get to a wall or a curb or something you can put your foot up on and drop your heel down. If you’re on a wall, just lean your body into the wall and press your heel down to engage a little more. Squeeze those quads. Squeeze the glutes and you’ll feel a really deep stretch in the calf. Hold for five to six breaths and repeat on both sides.

Runner’s Foam Rolling Sequence:

Let’s do lots of foam rolling. Once you’ve cooled off from outside, you come inside and get yourself set up on a mat with your foam roller. It’s really important to foam roll in conjunction with stretching because the stretching helps to lengthen and the foam rolling helps to self massage. So it’s a myofascial release of the muscles that have just been tightened.

1. Quadricep Foam Roll (2:53)

So let’s get started. We’re going to put that foam roller above the knees. I’m just going to rest here on my forearms. Then, relax the legs, relax your glutes. It’s easy to try and tense because they may be really tight, but really try to relax them and just drag your body over and back off that roller. So right to the bottom of the hip, right above the knee, and just forward and back. A few passes and that gets the entire quad, and what you want to do too, is there are four muscles in the quad.

You want to turn your toes outward and that will get more to the inner areas. And again, relax your legs forward and back. Put on a little pressure, let them drag, and then to get the outer sides you’re going to turn your toes inward like pigeon toed and again, let them drag and that gets more toward the IT band area to the outer quad muscles. So spend just a couple of minutes going through all of these motions. Make sure you’re breathing, relaxing your neck and shoulders, and just making those passes nice and long. It helps to lean out those muscles and it feels really good.

2. IT Band Foam Roll (4:00)

Next, let’s move on to the IT bands. The IT Band is a really tight area for most all runners. What you want to do is position that foam roller perpendicular to your leg, the bottom leg, the other leg is just going to be in front. It’s like an anchor. It’s going to help you to move your body forward and back. So you’ll want to rest right on the side of that leg and start to drag your body over and back off of that foam roller.

Obviously you can release some of that pressure by putting some more weight into your hand. To get really deep into this, put some weight into your foot, rock back and forth along the entire muscle, that whole side of the leg all the way just above the knee and you kind of have to move your body along with it, but start to rock your hips forward a little more so you get toward the quad. So you want to get on the edge, like the knife edge of that IT band. And then forward and back from there and just kind of rock a little forward and back. Side to side and get to those hot spots and once you find a hot spot, hold it, breathe and continue. So do this for just a few breaths. A few passes back and forth and repeat on both sides.

2. Inner Thigh Foam Roll (5:06)

Okay, so this one might look a little funny, but it’s going to get the inner thighs and that’s what we need to do. You may be in the privacy of your own home, which I hope, but get that foam roller position again perpendicular to the quad or to that femur bone. And you’re just going to roll it forward and back right along the inside of that thigh, all the way up to that groin and right above the knee. Going to put a little weight on it, because these get really tight with running too and we hold a lot of stress in our hips and our groin. It’s just so good to help to release this. So a few passes back and forth and just rock your hips over and back. Do this on both sides.

3. Calves Foam Roll (5:45)

This is one of my favorite ways to use a foam roller. We’re going to roll the calves. So starting with just sitting in an upright position, your legs are just draped over the foam roller. You’ve got to your hands or your fingertips to lift your hips off the ground and then roll forward and back. Give it a few passes, move yourself back a little more, get down, do a little few passes here, get to those hot spots that you’ll find once you start to move your legs. Now turn your feet outward duck-footed. position gets the outside of the calves. You want to roll here too.

You may find a lot more tightness. Get all the way out to just below the knee and then we’re going to change to the inside. So turn them in, pigeon toed and this gets the inner calves which are typically most tight because that’s where the ball of that muscle is, so get right over the belly of that muscle, give it a few passes. I try to relax those toes so the legs are really just draped on top or in back. Some long ones and some short ones. If you find you have a hot spot on one side, I have one on the left side, I’m going to cross over, give it a little extra weight. It does hurt, it hurts so good but stay here and roll and then do a little rock to the other side. Get that whole area and then change sides.

There you have it. My post run recovery guide for new moms getting back into running. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video and I hope that you’ll share it with your family and friends.

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