Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Avoiding Calf-tastrophe

Now that I am running four days a week, my leg muscles are tightening up. Honestly, it is probably because I don't stretch enough before and after my training runs. My weekly yoga class helps, but if I want to endue through this six month training period I need to get better at stretching.
In honor of my need to stretch, I came across this article on the Runner's World Magazine website. It is all about stretching your foot and calves, which have been my two problem areas lately.
The foot and ankle region is a common site for running pain - after all, it's the first point of impact. Elastic, flexible calf muscles can soften the shock down below, helping prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. These stretches should be used after every run: hold two seconds; repeat 10 times on each leg.
Soleus (inner calf): Sit with one leg straight and the other bent. Grasp the bottom of the foot on the bent leg. Keeping your heel on the ground, pull your foot toward your body as far as you can.
Gastrocnemius (outer calf): Sit with both legs straight. Loop a rope around the ball of one foot and grasp each end of the rope. Flex your foot back toward your ankle, toes toward your knee.

Achilles Tendon (attaches heel to calf): Sit with one leg straight and one bent. Bring your heel close to your buttocks. Keeping your heel on the ground, pull your foot toward your body.