The second in our series of blog posts focusing on coastal running in Cornwall. We join Helen Clare on Porthtowan Beach for her essential warm-up and warm-down stretches tailored specifically to coastal running.
Once a competitive swimmer to regional level, Helen has always been driven by sport, health and fitness. Now a keen trail runner and surfer, she is dedicated to spreading the health benefits of exercise and yoga, and works closely with many athletes as part of their cross-training, injury prevention and therapy. Helen has gained the Leadership in Running Fitness certification and Sport Yoga instructor status.
Helen says: “Start jogging at an easy pace to allow your muscles to warm up as you progress along your run. Afterwards, take the time to do these essential post-run stretches.”
On your hands and feet, bend the knees to guide your hips up and back, lengthening your spine (pictured above). Only then start to think about lowering your heels towards the ground. This pose helps to re-lengthen the hamstrings gradually and stretches out the entire back, realigning and decompressing the spine.
Standing forward fold
From your down dog, walk your feet up to your hands. Bend your knees and look forward, then breath out and draw your chest towards your thighs, straightening your legs to your own degree. This pose releases the lower back and gently stretches the hamstrings.
From the forward Fold, step your right leg back. Place your hands on your front thigh and lower your tail bone towards the ground as you sink your hips comfortably. This pose releases tension in the hip flexors and the quadriceps.
From the low Lunge take your hands to your hips and align hip over knee and knee over ankle. Reach up, hold your right wrist and stretch over to the left. This pose offers a great side body stretch that can go all the way down into the hip, stretching into the tensor fasciae latae muscle, which attaches to the IT band.
From the side Stretch lunge, come up and take your hands to the ground and press your front toes down, lengthening the front leg – this will provide a nice stretch through the front of the ankle and shin. Then, bend the left knee and lift the toes, draw back the hip before beginning to straighten the leg to your own degree. This pose starts to deepen the stretch into the belly of the hamstrings.
From runner’s stretch, widen your left foot out and place your right hand down. Start to turn to your left, flexing back your toes and either placing your left hand gently on your thigh or stretching it up to open the chest. This pose works deep into the glutes and piriformis hip muscles, as well as the back hip flexors and quads – relieving built up tension from running.
Repeat on the other side.
Helen’s top tip!
When home, lie down with your feet up the wall! This relieves pressure on the feet and legs, reverses the blood flow and allows the muscles to rejuvenate!
We joined professional yoga instructor and trail runner Helen Clare at www.helenclareyoga.com