Stretching is very important to runners-Owen learned this the hard way. Owen always did a few small stretches before his runs but hardly ever stretched after. When Owen ran the Bi-Lo Mrytle Beach Marathon he was hoping for a PR so he pushed it harder than he ever had, both in his training and in the marathon. His calf muscles were very tight and he ended up having servere plantar fasciitis in both feet. Stretching is most important after your runs. It's best to be warmed up before you stretch.
Here are a few of our favorite stretches:
Against the Wall
Target: Calf and Achilles
Hold for three seconds and repeat five time with each leg.
Repeat five times.
Repeat five times with each leg.
Target: Hamstrings and Lower Back
Lay on the floor. Bring both knees to your chest. Hold for three seconds. Repeat five times. Then do the same exercise but with one leg at a time, while keeping the other leg straight.
Target: Abs and Lower Back
Lie face down on the floor with your legs, hips, and abdomen pressed flat on the floor. Place your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders. Push your chest up with your arms as far as you can go without pain and hold for three seconds. Repeat five times.
Owen's Two Favorites
Target: Calf and shins
When you first start running you shouldn't stress about your form too much but you do want to pay attention to a few things so you don't get injured. When I first started running I always looked down and after a few months I noticed a clicking sound in my pelvis/hip area. It didn't hurt, but was really annoying. After a bunch of research I realized it was do to me looking down all the time and I had to re-learn how to run.
Here are a few things I learned:
Keep your body upright. Your head, torso, and legs should all align while you run.
Look forward. Your head should be level, eyes looking foward, jaw relaxed with mouth slightly open.
Breathe in through your mouth & nose, and then out your mouth. You want to get as much oxygen to your lungs.
Keep your shoulders down and arms relaxed. You don't want your shoulders to bunch up around your ears. I have to remember this all the time. I find my shoulders at my ears all the time when I'm really tired.
Take short, efficient steps so that you conserve energy. This is also suppose to help you land on the balls of your feet instead of your heels.
Again, don't stress to much. Just be proud that you are out there running!