Something I never mention in my recaps is my warm up and post-run recovery routine. I warm up before every run and have a post-run routine that I am pretty strict about.
If I’m just going out for an easy run or a tempo run, I tend to do dynamic stretches as my warm up. I go back to my lacrosse days and do some butt kicks, Frankensteins, grape vines, etc. If I’m going out for a hard effort like hill repeats or interval running, I do my dynamic stretching followed by a slow warm up of a mile or so. I began incorporating dynamic stretching into my warm up while training for my second half marathon and I felt it helped my overall mobility and form. It’s also a good way to pass the time on those mornings where my Garmin is taking a while to connect to the satellite.
My post-run routine takes me about 25-30 minutes and I have that time built into my morning workout routine so I never miss it. I do different sets of static stretching and a few favorite yoga poses to get everything stretched out. You can read about my favorite recovery tools here. Since I do my long runs on Saturday with a group I generally finish those up and do a tiny bit of stretching if I’m feeling tight before getting in the car (luckily it’s a very short drive home). Once I get home I take the dog’s for their walk (1 mile) and either stretch before I eat or eat before I stretch – it really depends on how hungry I am!
And then there’s foam rolling. I don’t foam roll right after a run and I don’t foam roll every night. In fact, I didn’t even own a foam roller during my first year of half marathon running. I reserve my foam roller for times when my legs are feeling on the tight side, fatigued, or knotted and I usually reserve this for the evening. I find it helpful the night and day after a long run or if I have multiple days of running in a row. I have been using it more as my mileage builds, but again I use it more for maintenance than a daily thing. I don’t beat myself up about it if I go some time without using it and I find that doing my warm up and post-run routine works well for me.
In addition to the things I do on my own at home, I have also been working with a sports chiropractor for about a year now. He is certified in ART and is a great resource when something is feeling off. Recently I found my hips had tightened up again and I was having a hard time getting them loose on my own. A few visits with him and I am back to normal and free from injury. Having a professional help work out tightness that inhibits my mobility and readjust my alignment when necessary is definitely something that has helped me to stay healthy over the past year.
So there you have it – my warm up and post-run routine! What do you do immediately before and after a run?