Best Stretches for Beginner Runners From a Coach!
This is the third post in my Running Tips for Beginners series.
Today I’m really excited to share an interview I did with Lisa from Mile by Mile Blog.
Lisa is an RCCA certified running coach. She’s also super dedicated to doing all of the little things right from stretching to foam rolling. Today she’s going to share her top tips for keeping our bodies working like well oiled machines.
I hope you enjoy her tips and be sure to follow her on Instagram for daily motivation!
1. What are your top recommendations for stretches to do before starting a run or run/walk session?
Some people really like to do static stretching before running and if it works for you I would say to continues doing what you’re doing! However, some research has shown that stretching before a run may make your muscles slightly less efficient.
I find that the dynamic stretches help you warm up and move your body through a full range of motion.
2. How soon before a run should you stretch?
Give yourself a good 5-10 minutes to warm up before a run.
If you are doing a hard workout, you could always walk or start an easy run and then stop and do some dynamic stretches before starting the “workout” part of your run.
3. How long should you hold stretches?
Since I am talking about dynamic stretches, you wouldn’t hold them at all, but you should do each stretch for about 20-30 seconds.
4. Do you recommend stopping to stretch if something feels tight during a run, or do you recommend waiting to stretch at the end?
This is all about personal preference and what works for you. Remember that a few seconds of stretching isn’t going to fix the problem, but it may make you feel a little better.
5. What are your recommended stretches to do after a run? How soon after should you stretch? How long should you hold the stretches?
The only static stretch I do is for my hip flexors. I like to do the “couch stretch” where you kneel in front of a wall or couch and put your back foot up on the couch or against the wall.
If you really want to change the length of a muscle, you need to hold it for 3-5 minutes. (According to “Anatomy for Runners” by Jay Dicharry, one my favorite running books!).
Other than that, I also do some dynamic stretches and mobility after my run. The myrtl routine is a quick workout for the hips that also focuses on mobility.
6. Should you stretch several times a day if something feels really tight the day after a run? Is there such a thing as over stretching?
I do think there is such a thing as overstretching! However, I don’t think it’s due to stretching too often, but rather too far. Pay attention to your body and don’t stretch so much that it hurts!
Also, I like to focus on mobility, or making sure your joints and muscles are able to move through all their natural ranges of motion.
Try sitting on the floor- you will find yourself in different positions that naturally take your legs and hips into different positions than what they are used to! You may even feel a little stretch in some positions:)
I also really like foam rolling to help loosen up muscles if something feels tight.
7. ITB tightness, calf tightness and shin tightness are all common in beginning runners, what are your top tips for keeping these areas loose and getting rid of the tightness?
Often times certain areas get tight because another area is weak. So it’s important to make sure you are doing core work and strength training! Focus on the hips, glutes, calves, and a stable core.
[editor’s note: check out this guide for stretches that help with ITB]
For calf and shin problems eccentric calf raises can be helpful.
Thanks so much to Lisa for sharing her insights with us today! I’ve been reading her blog since I was a beginning runner and have always found it super helpful – definitely check it out if you haven’t already!
Do you have any questions for Lisa? If so please comment below or tweet her @milebymilerun!
What are your favorite pre and post run stretches?
What part of the body do you focus on the most when it comes to stretching? (I focus on my hips which are almost always tight!)