The Final Stretch

Whether you’re a novice runner or a multi-marathon veteranyou’ve heard the importance of a post-run stretch, but do you know what to lengthen and what needs to stay strong?  Pilates is a specialized regimen that properly stretches the muscles of the body with the strength and control necessary to help joints maintain a proper range of motion. Without specialized stretching and the opposing strength to hold the newly found range of motions, muscles can become tight and leave you susceptible to pain or injury. 

So, what muscles need stretching? Any physical activity utilizes a whole range of different muscles, but targeting the ones that are being used the most during your runs will be most effective and help you improve in the long run

1. The Quadriceps

Quadriceps_3D

Your Quadriceps, or “Quads” are comprised of four separate muscles on the front of your thigh. This area can be overused during running and may be one of the first areas you feel soreness in, especially in a marathon like Boston that starts off downhill!   If not lengthened out properly, tight quads can cause a misalignment in the leg joints.

2. The Calves

Calf Muscle

Courtesy of lumen learning

Made up of two separate muscles on the back of your lower leg, the calves are an often overlooked, but essential piece of your running anatomy. If weakened or tightened, the calves can affect the movement at both the knee and the ankle joint.

3. The Hamstrings 

Hamstrings

You might not know exactly what or where your hamstrings are, but chances are you’ve felt them. The hamstring is a grouping of three muscles that run the length of the back of your upper leg. Although the hamstring is important for knee and hip movements, runners often forget or neglect to stretch them out. The hamstrings are important hip mobilizers and they also help to stabilize the pelvis.  Maintaining the right flexibility for a runner can help with muscle fatigue, overuse, and even lower back pain!

4. The Iliotibial (IT) Band

Tensor fasciae latae

While the Iliotibial band is not a muscle it plays a vital role in your body’s mechanics for running. The IT Band is a fascial band that spans the outer knee and thigh. It is part of a system that contributes to hip movement and knee stabilization and is used constantly during a run. The IT band is meant to be tight in order to control the position of the leg, yet becomes overly tight and overused when the glutes and inner thighs are weak.

5. The Gluteal MusclesGluteus_all.gif

Did you know that your Gluteus Maximus (aka your backside) is the largest and heaviest muscle in your body? It is also one of the laziest!  Your glutes are made up of three main muscles and several smaller ones that make many of your lower body movements possible. Sitting all day and general inactivity leads to these muscles becoming underutilized and weak, so it’s important to give them the attention they deserve. On the flip side, overuse of the Gluteal muscles can affect hip flexibility and overall pelvic stability.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of which muscles need stretching, you still need to know HOW to stretch them! Endurance is excited to announce two FREE upcoming seminars for runners of all skill levels: 

Runners Relax and Renew

Tuesday, April 16th at 10 AM: 

For our friends running the Boston Marathon, we are hosting a 45-minute post-run stretch and meditation session to help rejuvenate the muscles and embrace your amazing accomplishment!

Sign up HERE.

Saturday, April 20th at 1 PM: 

Inspired by your friends running the marathon? If you’re interested in running next year or just looking to jump head first into the sport, join us for an Intro to Running class where we’ll cover injury prevention, scheduling, nutrition, and cross-training. Learn how to run with the Endurance Method, the safest way to run with your butt and gut! 

Sign up HERE.

Meditation Benefits at Endurance

Wanted to try meditation but feel like it’s not readily available for your personality or your lifestyle?  Ever “shamed” by an instructor because there is no way you are going to “clear your head”?   I want you to try our Endurance method of meditation!  Based on the principles of Mindfulness Meditation, we encourage our participants to develop habits that they can apply to their daily lives. We practice meditations that you can do in as little as a minute (or a few breath cycles if necessary!) and in any situation available- lying down, sitting, standing, in the middle of a meeting, even running a marathon!  We have developed a program of meditation that is accessible for all and focuses on your ability to control your breath, reactions, and surroundings in a safe and supportive environment.  Join us in person or online for our Intro to Meditation course offered at 9AM on Thursdays and Fridays.  Think of our Endurance Meditation as the exercise you need for your mind!

Exercise is Better Together

Oh, February! The month of love. While some couples opt for the chocolates and sweets to celebrate, we believe the best way to show your love is by sweating with your sweetie.

We offer some great yoga classes in our studio – check them out HERE. But, if you’re looking for something a little more intimate, below are some tips and tricks to keep toned with that special someone.

– Julie Erickson

Boat Pose Navasana

Challenges balance, works abdominals

Sit, facing each other, pull the knees into the chest and then bring your soles together.  Extend the legs, pressing into the feet and roll back slightly to balance.  Hold for 30 seconds, progressing up to a minute with practice.

To add an additional challenge, keep the feet together and roll away from the legs.

Repeat 3 times.

Boat Pose With Spot

Challenges balance, works abdominals

One partner seated, one standing, reach legs toward standing partner and press into legs. Hold wrists, pull the abdominals in and roll away from standing partner and back up.

Repeat for a total of 5.

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

Challenges balance

Start facing in the same direction, toes pointed toward each other.  Bend “front” knee slightly and reach hands toward each other, connecting at the wrists.  Lift opposite leg and balance reaching out through the heels.  Lift free arm to the ceiling and hold for 20-30 seconds on each side.

Chatarunga Dandasana High Plank/Sun Salutation

Challenges full body strength, Opens the chest and front of the body

Facing away from each other- reach opposing feet toward one another, lower to low plank position, pull into upward facing dog with both feet lowering to the floor, then back into downward dog.  Switch feet.

Repeat for a total of 4 sun salutations

Upward Facing Dog from Sun Salutation With Spot

Opens chest

An upward facing dog with an assist. One partner pulling up into an upward facing dog or cobra position, assisting partner stands over backbend, draws shoulders back and assists in keeping the backbend position – hold for 20 seconds.

Seated twist

Assists in rotation

Sitting with backs together, arms intertwined, lengthen through the spine and rotate in one direction, holding, pulse a little further for 3 small pulses, return to center and reverse direction.

Repeat 5 times on each side