Two years ago, I was running up to 20 miles a week. This week, I’m thrilled with 7.35. And today I got three miles in.
Note that my running time right now is about 13:00 per mile. That’s slow. I’m taking a few walking breaks along the way.
I’m up 15 pounds on where I was two years ago. I’m not getting any younger either, just turning 48 in August.
As we get older, we have to exercise smarter. And for me that means stretching before I run to loosen up my muscles and joints.
Here are the four stretches I’m doing before every run:
1 – Hip stretch. Or that’s what I call it.
I sit with my legs crossed and pull up on my knee. This one feels really good.
2 – Hamstring stretch.
I stand up, cross my feet and try to touch my toes. It’s not my intention to overstretch my hammy. It gets stretched during the run itself.
3 – Calf stretch.
This is an easy one but effective. I think the key is to not overstretch. I say that, but I’m not an expert. I had always heard that I shouldn’t really stretch before running.
Until I got to the point in my running when I was never stretching. Never stretching leads to injury.
4 – Shoulder stretch.
Even though you’re using your legs mostly during a run, your upper body is also in motion. This helps to loosen it all up.
5 – Quad stretch.
Grab your foot and pull it behind you so you can feel the stretch on the thigh.
I’m doing these stretches for about 3-4 seconds apiece, just enough to loosen me up — and today I felt loose during my run. It sure helped that it was 54 degrees with drizzle and no wind.
The goal of this stretching is to aid in my recovery after the fact and to prevent injury.
My goal for this week is to get closer to 10 miles for the week. I strongly prefer running outside to a treadmill, but I know I just need to keep grinding regardless of the weather.
Ryan Welton is a digital journalist and marketer based in Oklahoma City. When he’s not running, he’s making smooth music on his YouTube channel: YouTube.com/ryanweltonmusic