Whether you’re running to complete your first 5k, finish a half marathon or just want to feel good about your cardio and mental health, you can gain a lot of great benefits from adding running into your routine. However, there are a few misconceptions to be aware of before you start your running journey. Woodside Training Manager Simon Stanberg shares some common misconceptions as well as stretches and exercises you can do at home to help you achieve your best run yet.
- Passive Stretching and Flexibility Will Help with Running
While passive stretching feels good for a lot of people, it will not improve your running performance or prevent injuries. Running is a movement that requires stability. Your muscles need to contract on demand to help stabilize the joints they are surrounding. Stretching these muscles can actually desensitize them and reduce their response to impact. Instead, try dynamic stretching before a run like a Leg Cradle Forward Lunge or Wall Glute March.
- Running Is Bad for Your Knees
It’s not your knee’s fault! A majority of the time your knees are feeling pain or soreness during or after a run as a result of unstable ankles or hips. If your foot or ankle collapses on impact, more than likely your knees are going to dive in passively putting undue stress through that joint. Likewise, if your glutes don’t contract to stabilize your hip, your knee will rotate in a way it doesn’t like. A great way to build stability in these areas are with some simple exercise like a Hip Hike.
- To Get Better at Running. RUN MORE!!!
While getting in mileage and time on your feet is beneficial to be a successful runner, it is important to understand why you are feeling pain in certain places. Running is a repetitive motion which makes your body more susceptible to injury. If your muscle/joint relationships aren’t stable and strong prior to your running program, you could be doing more harm than good. Instead of running more to combat the pain, dedicate some time in the gym or at home to work on strengthening the muscles involved in the running motion. Most of these exercises will be unilateral, which means it will train one side of the body at a time.
Below are a few warm-up and strength exercises I encourage you to implement in your routine to achieve a better run:
Warm-Up Excercises to Try:
HALF KNEELING HIP FLEXOR MOBILITY (GLUTE SQUEEZED)
LEG CRADLE TO FORWARD LUNGE
WALL GLUTE MARCH (TOE UP, SQUEEZE GLUTE)
Exercises to implement into your routine:
WALL ANKLE EXTENSION
SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT
SINGLE LEG HIP THRUST
HAMSTRING CURL OPTION ONE
HAMSTRING CURL OPTION TWO