Everyone should have a basic physical maintenance routine to ensure longevity. ¬†The goal of this routine should be to prevent injuries from happening and not as a treatment for once they’ve occurred.¬†¬†The hard part is knowing where to start. ¬†I’ve included 7 videos of mobility drills aimed at helping the running athlete, but they can be used by anyone.
You don’t have to do all of these everyday. ¬†Maybe you did speed work today so you want to focus on the feet and lower legs. Perhaps a longer run has your hips feeling tight so you focus on the hip drills. The idea is to become more aware of your body and to have a road map so you’re not aimlessly stretching.
Your foot has 26 bones,¬†33 joints, and over 100 tendons and ligaments all of which are crammed into a shoe and pounded on with each stride. Why not show your foot some love? ¬†This drill helps open up all those crammed structures in the feet.
Calf, Achilles, and Plantar Fascia
This drill is money for those who prefer a forefoot strike when running.
Tibialis Anterior and Peroneals
Some of the most overlooked muscles by runners are the ones on the front and outside of the shin. Trail runners should be especially mindful of these muscles due to the varied terrain they run on.
I wrote an entire blog post on the myths of hamstring flexibility, so I wont harp on it here. ¬†I will say that you likely don’t need to be stretching the life out of your hammies. ¬†General mobility and movement through the posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, gluts, and back) is important, however. The sequence in the video below is great for that.
Healthy hips are extremely important for runners. ¬†Tight hips can limit stride length putting stress on other areas possibly causing low back and knee pain. ¬†The drills in the video below will help mobilize your hip flexors so you can get the most out of each stride without stressing the back.
General Hip and Ankle
Although great for the hip, this next drill also works the ankle nicely. Be sure to keep your foot flat. On the 2nd and 3rd variations use your elbow to push your knee out as you drive it forward. Try to look more excited than I do while your doing it!
When you think of stretching after a run you probably don’t think about your upper back. ¬†Proper mobility in this area will assist you in keeping a neutral upright posture during long distance runs.