Stretching: The Secret to Running Better, Faster, and Longer


From Health magazine
Stretching can improve your stride (which may actually increase your pace) and help you avoid injuries. Do these three easy moves after your run.

Downward-Facing Dog

Why do it: To help prevent tightness in the backs of your legs, improve stride length, and nix calf cramping.
How-to: From push-up position, press hips up and heels down so youre in an inverted V. Focus on reaching hips and heels away from one another. Hold for 20–30 seconds; repeat twice.

Kneeling Lunge

Why do it: To help lengthen hip flexors and open the fronts of your hips, which can improve your running posture and form and reduce the risk of injury.
How-to: Kneel with left knee on ground, right foot forward, and right knee bent at 90 degrees over right ankle. Keep spine long as you tilt your pelvis forward, flattening your lower back and stretching front of your left hip. Hold 20–30 seconds; repeat on other side.

Cross-Legged Seat Stretch

Why do it: To help stave off butt, sciatic, and lower-back pain that can be caused by running too much too soon (overtraining) or sitting for long periods of time.
How-to: Lie on back and cross right knee over left, bending both. Pull knees toward chest to feel the stretch deep in your butt muscle. Hold 20–30 seconds; repeat on other side.