My yoga post-run leg stretches

Now that I am running more and asking more and more of my leg muscles, joints and ligaments, I feel as though I need a decent post-run stretch. The usual standing stretches just don’t cut the mustard anymore – they are not deep enough for me. Here are some of the stretches I use now:

1) Calf muscles

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I defy anyone to find a deeper calf stretch than the downward facing dog. Have your hands shoulder width apart in front of you and form a pyramid. Imagine that someone is lifting your pelvis. At the same time, try to get your feet flat on the floor (it’s very difficult to do this, so don’t worry if you can’t at all!). You should feel an amazing stretch down the back of your calf muscles.

2) Hip flexors

From downward facing dog, throw your right leg back and step forward so that your foot lands between your hands (take as many steps forward as you need to get your leg level with your shoulder). Straighten your back and put your hands on your hips. Feel the stretch on your hip flexors.

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3) Quads (front of thighs)

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This quite a difficult one, but it gives you an amazing quad and hip flexor stretch. Grab you back foot and pull and lean forward. To protect the knee, lean forward more so that the knee is off the ground.

4) Hamstring 

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From step 2, lean back and bring you front foot up, lean forward to extend the stretch.

Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 on the opposite leg.

5) Glutes (buttocks)

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This is called the half pigeon and it’s one of my favourite yoga stretches. From downward facing dog, bring your right leg forward and place your right knee behind your right hand. Rest your back leg on the floor (toe pointed and resting on the floor). Once you have warmed up, lean forward and place your arms out flat in front of you (almost so that you are lying down into the stretch). Repeat for the opposite leg.

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I try to do these stretches daily and after every run (never immediately before a run though).

And here’s a random cat picture just because…

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sian

6 thoughts on “My yoga post-run leg stretches

  1. Fantastic tips on stretching, I am training for the Great North Run at the moment and since increasing my mileage am finding I need better, deeper stretches so will give these a go – also hope they help as I am running as I am finding my muscles are beginning to ache now in the backs of my thighs and buttocks after about 5 miles and not sure why as this is quite new but then never run so far so many times a week!

    • You probably have weak glutes (most women seem to) – unfortunately our modern lifestyle of sitting for hours a day weakens them. Lots of stretching (half pigeon) and squats and lunges to strengthen them should help.

  2. I’ve just downloaded some ‘at home yoga’ apps for the ipad, do you think it’s worth attending some face to face classes first before attempting to do them at home by myself?

    • I think it’s quite hard doing yoga if you haven’t been shown how to do the poses at least once or twice by a yoga teacher. I bought a yoga DVD years ago and couldn’t get on with it. If you have any Astanga classes about – that’s the best type I have done. You really feel like you achieved something as it’s pretty tough (lots of core and planks).

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