You. Must. Stretch.

You. Must. Stretch.

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    Stretching – as runners we know we have to but we rarely do! Although running does not require maximum joint range of motion (ROM), such as gymnastics, adequate ROM is still required to reduce risk of injury.

    Warm-up stretches:
    Dynamic stretches increase explosive power when running:

    1. Hamstring: Gently swing the leg back and forth, increasing the height of the leg as the muscles warm up.

    2. Buttocks: Start as shown, and gently swing the leg across the body.

    3. Spine: Stand upright, tuck the chin and roll down to touch the toes. Come up slowly.

    Repeat these stretches 5-10 times.

    Cool-down stretches:
    Stretching after a run is important because the muscles are pliable, and will prevent joint stiffness. Improving joint ROM prevents overuse injuries such as ITB friction syndrome.

    Hold each stretch 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times per side.

    1. Hamstring: Place foot on a step / rock / tree stump. Lean forward from the hips and reach for the toes, maintaining the forward position of the pelvis.
    2. Buttocks: Begin sitting on the floor with both legs in front of you. Sit upright and twist upper body over the knee, while pulling the knee up to the chest.

    3. Calves: Hold onto a bar and lean forwards with the back knee straight. Push this heel firmly into the ground. Now bend the back knee to feel the Achilles tendon stretch.
    4. Quads: Lift foot to the buttock, keep the back straight and tighten the bum.
    5. Inner thighs: Keep the back straight and press down on the knees with elbows.

    Flexibility is crucial to stay injury-free!

    Lené van Heerden
    As a physiotherapist Lené works with people in all walks of life, taking part in almost any and every type of physical activity. More often than not they find themselves in more pain than what you can ever imagine. Working with these people energizes her, but it is also poses a great challenge. Through this she has learnt a lot about the prevention and management of injuries. Lené will be providing trail runners with valuable tips and techniques to avoid injuries and to enhance their performance on the trails! Trail Running is my ticket to switching off my phone, getting dirty and experiencing nature the way it was intended.

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