Boston Marathon Training Monday #18: Everyday Stretches

Hi Friends:)

This week was a solid week of training. I was a little nervous that something would start stinging after my 18 miler last weekend, but nothing did!

Admittedly, I was sore for like, 2.5 full days afterwards. Walking down stairs felt absolutely horrible for a while there, and I was having flashbacks to the week after my first marathon when I had a borderline anxiety attack every time I had to “run” downstairs to the printer at work for the entire week afterwards.

With the soreness, I took it pretty easy on Monday. But I think I benefitted from that! I’ve also started breaking in my new pair of sneakers (Brooks Ghost 9’s) as my purple Adrenalines have almost 300 miles on them and are looking a little shabby. I always start breaking in new shoes with some treadmill runs and shorter runs before I try them on a long run if I can.

Take a look at how this week worked out:)

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run (I walk/ran the first mile with a student who is just beginning their running journey, then took the next two miles at a 10:29 min/mile pace)
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes on a spin bike + Leg Lift
  • Wednesday: 4 mile hill run (1 mile warm-up, 2.5 miles of hill repeats, .5 mile cool down) (ALSO no idea of paces as my apple watch was on the fritz)
  • Thursday: 4 mile run (Apple Watch continued to be wayyyyy inaccurate, so no pacing information)
  • Friday: 45 minute spin class
  • Saturday: 10.5 miles @ 9:25 average pace
  • Sunday: 60 minute yoga class
    • Total Weekly Mileage: 21.5

In addition to all the above workouts, I’m also trying to make it a habit to stretch and foam roll for a few minutes before bed each night. I’m REALLY hoping to stay injury-free this training round, and I believe that little habits like this make a big difference. I don’t always manage to get this routine in before bed, but I’d say I’m making it a priority 4-5 nights a week which is super helpful!

Sidenote; While I do sometimes do an active warm-up that includes kicks, squats, lunges, high knees and gate-openers, I do not stretch right before my runs. Studies have shown that stretching before a workout can actually reduce your muscle power, so I stick to stretching after/at night in order to get the most out of every run and cross-training session.

I’ve tried a few different stretching routines, but lately I’ve been loving yoga-based stretches that focus on opening the hips and lengthening the hamstrings. Here’s what I do to keep all my muscles and connective tissues in top shape going into the high-milage portion of my training cycle!

Nightly Stretches for Marathon Training! 

  1. Downward Facing Dog: Helps stretch my calves and hamstrings. I always peddle out my feet to maximize the stretch, and I hold this for 10 breaths to start off.
  2. Standing Split w/ Hip Opener: This is basically just picking one leg up from downward facing dog and bending it in the air. I find it really loosens up my hips, which are a trouble spot for most lady runners. I hold this for 5 breaths.
  3. Pigeon Pose: From the previous pose, I draw my leg under me and settle into pigeon pose. I like to lean forward onto my forearms and hold this for 10 breaths.
  4. Pigeon Pose w/ Quad stretch: This is where you grab your back leg and pull the foot in towards your torso. It stretches out my quads so much better than the typical standing quad stretch that all runners do like a nervous tick at the starting line of every race.
    REPEAT ALL THE ABOVE, BUT ON THE OTHER SIDE! 
  5. Figure 4 Stretch: I do this seated and try to hold it for 20 seconds on each side.
  6. Hamstring Band Stretch: I use a theraband, lay flat on my back with my legs straight, loop the band around one foot and and pull it up towards my head. I hold this for at least a ten count.
  7. IT Band Stretch: I then use the band to pull my leg a little bit across the mid-line while keeping the hip flat on the ground. I hold this for a ten count.
  8. Thigh Band Stretch: I then pull my leg all the way out to the other side, extending it high beside me. Back in my dance and cheer days we called this a heel stretch and could do it without the band while on pointe or while in the air for a cheer pyramid. Now I do what i can while laying on my floor and pretend like age isn’t a thing.
  9. Foam Roll: Calves, quads, IT Bands, hamstrings.
  10. Foot Roll: I have a little foot roller that I got from my brother, but a tennis ball also works!

I hope this is helpful for all you runners out there! I’ve been so excited about my new stretch routine this year since I had been sticking to the same cheerleading-based warmup since college… which clearly wasn’t working for me. 

Now You Tell Me…

  • STRETCHING… before/after a workout? 
  • Do you have any amazing warmup/stretch/recovery tricks for me? 
  • SONG SUGGESTIONS? I need a new playlist.

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