• If you’re preparing for a long distance run, stretching can help to boost your performance, protect against injuries and more. This article will discuss how stretching can help you get ready for a long distance run and provide you with a 6 minute stretching routine that you can perform each day.

    The Benefits Of Stretching For Long Distance Runners

    1. Reduced Injury Risk: Regular stretching enhances the range of motion in your joints and muscles. This makes them less prone to sprains, tears and twists and lowers your overall injury risk. 
    1. Reduced Soreness: Stretching soothes your joints and muscles and enhances the flow of blood to them which helps to alleviate any soreness you may experience after a run. 
    1. Improved Circulation: Stretching stimulates blood flow to the muscles which helps to supply them with the oxygen and essential nutrients that they need and also carry waste materials away from them. Not only does this keep them healthy but it also maximizes the amount of energy you can produce while running. 
    1. Better Running Form: Stretching has a positive effect on your posture and this allows you to hold your body in the proper position while running and maintain good running form.

    6 Minute Stretching Routine

    This 6 minute stretching routine is a simple but effective tool for maximizing your flexibility. For the best results, perform it before and after every run.

    1. Standing Hamstring Stretch: The standing hamstring stretch involves touching your head to your toes while keeping your body straight. To perform the standing hamstring stretch, follow the instructions below:
      1. Stand up straight with your feet and legs together.
      2. Slowly slide your hands and your head down your legs, reaching for the floor or as far as they will go.
      3. Hold this position for 1 minute.
    1. Bridge Stretch: The bridge stretch boosts the flexibility of your back and shoulders. To perform the bridge stretch, follow the instructions below:
      1. Lie flat on the ground and straighten your arms and legs.
      2. Bend your arms and legs, then flatten your hands and feet on the floor.
      3. Push up with your arms and legs, arch your back and hold this position for 1 minute.
    1. Tricep Stretch: The tricep stretch loosens up the muscles at the back of your arms as well as your shoulders. To perform the tricep stretch, follow the instructions below:
      1. Stand up straight, place your left arm behind your head and bend your left elbow so that your left hand is touching your upper back.
      2. Place your right hand on your left elbow, push down to stretch out your left tricep and shoulder and hold this position for 1 minute.
      3. After 1 minute, place your right arm behind your head and bend your right elbow so that your right hand is touching your upper back.
      4. Place your left hand on your right elbow, push down to stretch out your right tricep and shoulder and hold this position for 1 minute.
    1. Leg Swings: Leg swings are a dynamic stretch that gently enhance the range of motion in your upper legs. To perform leg swings, follow the instructions below:
      1. Stand up straight with your arms by your side.
      2. Keep your left leg straight and then swing it forward as far as it will go.
      3. Keep your right leg straight and then swing it forward as far as it will go.
      4. Repeat the steps b-c for as many repetitions as you can manage within 1 minute. 
    1. Lunge With Twist: The lunge with twist is an excellent full body stretch. To perform the lunge with twist, follow the instructions below:
      1. Stand up straight with your arms raised out in front of you.
      2. Step forward into a lunge position with your right leg, then twist your arms and body to the right.
      3. Step forward into a lunge position with your left leg, then twist your arms and body to the left.
      4. Repeat steps b-c for as many repetitions as you can manage within 1 minute. 

    Summary 

    If stretching isn’t currently part of your long distance running preparation, I hope this article has shown you why it should be. By practicing the 6 minute stretching routine daily, you’ll see positive results very quickly and enjoy all the benefits highlighted above.