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Running is a great go-to fitness boost, but even the most disciplined will acknowledge that it’s tough on the body. The last thing any runner wants is to be stuck not running, and recovery from injury can be a frustratingly slow process. So time spent daily on self-care is a worthwhile investment in injury and pain prevention.
Here are three techniques from Jill Miller, self-care expert and the creator of Treat While You Train that you can do to keep yourself on the run.
To get started, you’ll need:
- 1 Coregeous® Ball
- 1 yoga block
- Yoga Tune Up® (YTU) Ball Pair or Therapy Ball Plus Pair
1. Breath pinwheel
Equipment: coregeous ball
Every runner knows that breathing is a constant activity during training and output. You want to be able to maximize lung volume throughout your race, whether you’re running uphill or downhill, over obstacles and so on. The torso rotates mildly as you’re hoofing it, and your breath can be quite restricted at the end ranges of spinal rotation. In order to improve your breath mechanics, adding in the Breath Windmill will help resolve stiffness in your breathing at those end ranges, so that your mid-range twisting does not result in overworking or leaking energy.
- Place the Coregeous ball on right side of your chest.
- Extend your right thigh straight out and your left thigh behind you, knees bent. Lean forward and rest your chest on the ball, placing your right hand on the ground.
- Reach your left hand behind you and rest it on the back of your left rib cage. Use your hand to push your rib cage down as you breathe deeply.
- Take deep breaths and feel your intercostal muscles, as well as your diaphragm.
- Switch sides: Place the ball on the left side of your chest, extend your left leg out and your right behind, lean onto the ball and place your left hand on the ground. Use your right hand behind you to help pivot and push your right rib cage.
2. Quiet quads
Equipment: YTU balls or plus pair
Quad stiffness is almost unavoidable. Your sore quads are not sliding and gliding well. This can lead to cramps, knee pain, and knee and hip issues. The YTU Balls will reinstate the internal mobility of your quads, so you can keep “pounding” the pavement.
- Lie face down and place the balls in the middle of your quads.
- Take deep breaths as you let the balls sink into your quads.
- Move from side to side using the cross-fiber technique.
3. Asymmetrical runner’s lunge on block
Equipment: yoga block
Everyone loves improving hip range of motion, for a longer stride. This is one of the best stretches for targeting all of the hip musculature on the front and back of both legs. It will add ease to your run.
- Put your left foot on the block and slide your right leg back into a lunge. Keep your knees bent then lower yourself as far as you can manage.
- Keeping your pelvic bones lined up so you’re not twisting, clasp your hands overhead and bend over to your left side as far as you can.
- Breathe into your side as you straighten your back leg to extend your hip flexors.