If Trap can stretch, you can too. Donall Farmer/INPHO
warming up

The five most important stretches marathon runners can do between now and Monday

Remember to keep warm and loose.

THE DUBLIN CITY MARATHON is just days away and the sheer enormity of the event can be quite overwhelming.

This can be an awful lot for first-time marathoners to assimilate and a million thoughts will be running around their heads in the next 72 hours.

This apprehension can lead to debutants – or even experienced runners – over-thinking what’s in store and forgetting the very basic things that will get you to the finish.

Nutrition, hydration, proper clothing and stretching must be your mantra for the next few days, each as important as the next.

For the purposes of this article we’ll focus on the stretches you absolutely must do three times every day between now and Monday. No big check-lists now, the work is done.

Before we start the stretch there here are a few things you must remember.

  • The stretch must be held for 30 seconds
  • Do not ‘bounce’ because you could tear a muscle
  • Never stretch a cold muscle, walk or jog for 10 minutes beforehand.
  • Remember to breathe.

Stretch 1 – Calf stretch

Starting position: Sit on the floor, legs straight out in front, your back upright.

Action: Pull your feet towards yourself using a towel until a stretch is felt in the calf. Hold for 30 seconds on both legs and repeat twice.

Stretch 2 – ITB band stretch

Starting position: This stretch, known as the lateral wall stretch, gives a bit more force into the IT band. Standing adjacent to a wall, lean towards the wall, resting your elbow against the wall. Next, you throw your left hip into the wall, cross the good leg over for support, invert the back foot or foot you’re trying to stretch.

Action: Now you simply drop down into the wall and hold for 30 seconds and repeat on each side three times. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your leg.

Stretch 3 – Quad stretch

Starting position: Standing tall, grab your right foot with your right hand and bring your knees together.

Action: Then pull up – your right knee should move slightly backwards – until you feel a moderate to intense stretch on the front of the quad. Hold the stretch at a point where it’s mildly uncomfortable for 30 seconds and do the same on the other side, repeating twice.

Stretch 4 – Hip flexors

Starting position: Stand on front of a chair, facing away from it. Place the laces of one leg on the seat of the chair – the knee of the same leg facing towards the floor. Now, with the opposite leg, lunge forward.

Action: Once your front foot is planted, ensure you’re putting pressure down on your hind foot (on the chair). Hold your abs in and push your hips forward as you raise the arm furthest from the chair directly into the air. Yep, that’s your hip flexor you’re feeling.

Stretch 5 – Back

Starting position: Start on all fours, eyes to the floor, back perpendicular to the floor.

Action: Draw in your stomach and arch your back up towards the sky as if you had a piece of string from the centre of your spine pulling you upwards. Hold this for three seconds. Now relax and allow your back to sink down. Hold this for three seconds. Repeat this 10-15 times until you feel your back loosen out.

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