Updated: Jun 17
Every runner has had or has tight muscles, whether it's your hamstrings or quadriceps you'll be feeling the pull. If you're not already doing it you should be doing yoga after your run, to stretch your legs and prevent tightness in the muscles, or even worse...injury. Whether you're an endurance runner or sprinter, stretching is essential and yoga is the best way to go about it because not only are you stretching the muscles, but relaxing yourself mentally and physically. Muscles that are usually tight after a run are the quadriceps, gluteus maximus (bum), hamstrings, hip flexors and calves, so here are some stretches you can do to relieve the pain...
Get in your lunge position and drop your back knee down to the floor, make sure your feet, ankles and knees are all facing forward. Keep your knee above your ankle and square the hips, pushing them forward. You should feel the stretch in your hip.
Lie flat on your back and brings your knees to the air, you should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips. Tuck your tailbone in and slowly lift your hips in the air as high as possible and keep your core tight to prevent back injury.
The bow pose is a great overall stretch, but especially for the quadriceps and chest. Lie flat on your belly and slowly lift your legs up in the air, then grab onto your ankles with your hands. If this is too much then just lift one leg at a time, keeping the other flat on the floor.
Return to the low lunge position and place one hand on the floor, whilst using the other hand to grab the opposite ankle. If you've got particularly tight quads this may be difficult, so don't worry about trying to touch your foot, just reach as far as you can.
If you've had tight glutes before you know the pain is real. Lie flat on your back and and bring your knees up, then place you right foot on top of your left quad (near the knee). If this is enough of a stretch for you keep it there, if you want to take it further then wrap your hands under your left thigh and lift the leg up.
Single Leg Forward Bend
Stretch one leg out long and bring the other foot into the thigh of your long leg. Lean forward as if trying to grab your foot, if you can reach your foot, great, if not don't worry just go as far as comfortable and so that you can feel the pull in your hamstring. If you want to keep going, bring your head to your knee, and if you can do that you're pretty flexible.
Wide Leg Forward Bend
Stand tall and and take your legs out wide (possibly double shoulder width) then slowly bend at the hips and let your head drop down to the floor. Bring your hands down to the floor for a further stretch and keep breathing whilst you try and deepen the stretch.
Now as you can see this one was a struggle for me. I've got particularly tight hamstrings and calves and this pose pushes them to the limit. Sit tall on your knees and stretch one leg forward, try and keep your bum and hips stacked on top of knee, if you need to bend your knee then do so. Try and keep your foot flexed for a deeper stretch.
Keep your legs straight and stretch your arms out wide, then bend at your hips and drop one arm down to your leg. If you can, try and touch the floor, or if you have a yoga block place your hand on that, but keep your legs as straight as possible.
If you need any more tips stretching or preparing for running let me know and i'll hit you up with some moves.