You have been training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for months and are about to enter the final “stretch”. You are probably starting to think about race morning and your pre-race routine that day. If not, it is a good time to start. It is important not to forget one of the most important and often overlooked parts of your routine…STRETCHING! I highly recommend having a pre-race plan for stretching.
- Consider the weather. Will it be comfortable to stretch outside or will it be a chilly morning?
- Consider your time commitment towards stretching. How much time do you want to commit to stretching before and after your race? Stretching before your race should be a minimum of five minutes.
Before your race, try dynamic stretching, which involves controlled, repetitive movements that mimic the way your muscles will move during your run. For example, when you are running you need to have flexibility of your hip flexor muscle (front, upper part of your thigh). This flexibility allows for your leg to travel behind you before your toe leaves the ground. Here are a few stretches to try on race morning:
Forward lunge: A dynamic stretch that mimics this motion is a forward lunge, keeping your back straight and feeling a stretch through your upper thigh (leg that is behind you and bent). The stretching of this specific muscle group allows you to have greater flexibility and helps you run more efficiently.
Hamstring walk stretch: Another dynamic stretch to try is the hamstring walk stretch. Keeping back straight. Raise one leg in front of you keeping the leg straight until you feel the stretch in your hamstring (back of the thigh of the leg that is raised). Continue doing this by alternating raised legs in a walking manner.
Lateral lunge to stretch adductors: Stand with feet parallel, hip width apart. Step to the right shifting your weight to the right by bending your right knee into a side lunge position. Remember to keep your butt back and your left leg should be as straight as possible. Push off with your right foot and return to starting position. Continue doing this as a side “walk.”
Dynamic stretching is a great way to warm up your muscles before the big race and should not be overlooked! Happy stretching and best of luck on race day!
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