If you have a 5K on your list of things to do, this post is for you. Here you have the 5 best stretches for runners and walkers and a free, fun virtual 5K for you to put on the calendar! Knowing the best stretches for runners and walkers can make all the difference when it comes to the longevity of any new running or walking program. And having a race on the calendar is the best way to stay focused and motivated when moving forward.
Virtual 5K February 1st from the 30 Day Challenge Series
We have a group that has been following a 30 day training plan for a 5K since January 1. We are all over the country so finding a race 30 Days out for everybody was near impossible. So welcome to our first ever “Virtual 5K” Event! This event is not limited to just those who are following the official training plan — this is for runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts everywhere to come together virtually to celebrate our health and ability to move!
The point is to get out, get moving and celebrate fitness! This group and event is for us to all commit to running 5K on February 1 and to provide a platform for bragging rights, celebration and oh — maybe even a “Virtual Beer Garden!”
Getting Started on the Virtual 5K
- SIGN UP! Click “going” on the event on the 30 Day Challenge Series. Invite your friends and make it a fun community event!
- FIND YOUR COURSE! 5K is 3.1 miles. You can run out and back, or make it a loop. Heck you can even run on the treadmill if need be. And know that you don’t have to run the entire race — or even at all. Feel free to jog, walk or crawl.
- RUN YOUR RACE! On February 1st, run your race and record your time. Make sure you take some pictures while you’re out too!
- POST YOUR RESULTS! When you’re finished, post your picture and time on the event page and congratulate the other runners who ran along with you all across the globe!
- CELEBRATE YOUR FINISH! All those who post a finish line picture will get a “virtual medal” for you to proudly display and be entered into a raffle for some great health and fitness gifts!
For information on the training plan, visit the original post about the 30 Days to 5K Training Plan. Be sure to read the rest of this post for the 5 best stretches for runners or walkers to help you stay nimble, quick and pain free!
5 Best Stretches for Runners and Walkers
There is a fine line between the pain of progress and the pain of an injury. Having the smarts to know that you’re strong, but not indestructible can be the key to staying injury free and keeping your fitness moving in the right direction! Devoting some time to some dynamic stretching before you get moving, and static stretching after you’re warmed up or cooling down is an important part of any training plan. There are so many great stretches to do and you can tailor your stretch routine based on your biomechanics and specific areas of concern and tightness. Of course, always check with your health care professional before starting any new exercise routine. But in general, here is a good overview of the best stretches for runners and walkers.
Hip Flexor Stretch:
Tight hip flexors are really common in people who sit all day long. Stretching these bad boys out is a good move even if you aren’t an avid runner or walker to improve your posture. To do the stretch: stand straight and step your left foot about 3-4 feet in front of your right and lower to the ground by pushing your pelvis forward. This should pull on your right hip flexor, the front, top side of your right leg. To get a better stretch, you can slightly bend the knees to push your pelvis farther forward. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat on other side.
There is no doubt your quads take a pounding when you’re hitting the pavement and stretching out these muscle fibers can feel great! To do the stretch: stand with your feet together, kick your right leg back and catch it with your right hand. Align your knees and push your pelvis forward to get the best stretch in the front portion of your right leg. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
The muscles behind your legs need a good stretch after a long walk/run too — and most importantly keep your body in balance. To do the stretch: stand with your feet together, step your left foot forward about 1-2 feet. Keeping a flat back, lean your torso over your left leg, keeping your hips aligned. Continue to lower your chest towards your leg and knee to get the best stretch on the back, upper portion of your leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Depending on your form, your calves can get really tight when you run. To prevent lower leg injuries, and keep walking the next day as smooth as possible, you’ll want to stretch these guys out. To do the stretch, stand facing a wall, about 2 feet away. Step your right leg forward and bend slightly and keep your left leg straight. Keeping a flat back and with straight arms, press your palms into the wall and lean forward. Hold for at least 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
IT Band Stretch:
A tight IT band is really common in runners and actually often presents itself as pain on the outside of your knee. Stretching these is essential to keep your running plan on track. To do the stretch: stand with your feet together. Cross your right foot over your left and lean your torso to the right, pushing your left hip out until you feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
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