Need some advice on stretching? You have come to the right place! Stretching can be as simple as touching your toes, but for those of us who can’t even do that – it’s good to have some pointers so we don’t get hurt whilst trying. Two Brazilian running experts who will be participating at this years’ Wings for Life World Run, Jess Acocella (@jess_acocella) and Van Fonsek (@vanfonsek), have some wise words to share with us all…
Dynamic Stretches are an ideal way to loosen up and get all your muscles warmed up before heading out for a run.
VAN Pre-workout: It’s been a long time since people started talking about the importance of stretching. I believe that the best for everyone is to follow a professional that will give the right tips and orientations for you. Before my workout, I do some “dynamic stretches”, which is more like a “warming up”. It helps me to increase my blood flow and to gain joint mobility.
This fun little stretch is about opening up those hips! Step forward with you preferred leg and lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. To step it up a notch, as you do your lunge make sure your back is straight and lift the opposite arm up so it points to the sky.
Hold onto something sturdy and strong to give you balance for this move!
Stand on one leg and swing the other forward and back. Make sure to hold your tummy tight and not to let your torso move too much. This exercise really helps to stretch your quads and hamstring.
Although we recommend stretching those legs before a run, some of you may be interested in getting a trainer who can advise alternative methods to prevent any injuries. Just like Jess Acocella…
JESS Pre-workout: Following the orientations of my coach, I don’t stretch before running, but get my body prepared by running softer for 2 km and then I increase the pace little by little. This helps me getting my muscles ready and it “trains” my mind for what’s coming that day.
It can be tempting to skip the stretches and head straight for that post-run burger, but it is essential that you stretch whilst you are still warm. Why? We know you have just burned a whole lot of calories that you need to consume ASAP but stretching is the only way to stop those post-run aches and pains. Here are some ideas for post-workout stretching – you’ll be thanking us later!
There are loads of different routines you can do with a roller and each have different benefits. The best thing about rolling is that it breaks down knots, which helps prepare muscles for stretching. Not only that, but because rolling improves circulation it can also be used pre-workout as a method to stimulate the muscles. How nifty is that!
JESS Post-workout: after my workout I do some soft stretching, especially for my thighs and my low back.
Yoga should be a runners’ best friend! The stretching involved in Yoga positions is static yet dynamic enough to relieve any tension built and strengthens any weak spots.
VAN - Post-workout: after my workout, I prefer doing a soft stretching, more static, instead of dynamic.
Both pre and post workout stretches are important for banishing pains from injuries. Don’t worry about being sore, it’s only natural – and what’s a little pain for some gain?