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Stretching exercises when planning your first 5K running race

Are you planning your first 5K running race? You need a lot of practice and improvement if you really want to make it through the race as a winner. However, there are greater chances of injury if you practice too much and quickly. Hence, you should start with good stretches and develop a good aerobic base before you start with rigorous training. If it is your first 5K running race then you should focus on the distance rather than time. Before anything else, invest in a good pair of running shoes. Running shoes should suit your arch and stride. To know which shoe is perfect for you, you can check out a nearby running shoe store to get the right fit. Also make sure you buy a good pair of socks which are equally as important. It should be seamless and absorb moisture to prevent blisters while running.
Pre-run stretches and post-run stretches are equally important. The stretches loosen up and trigger your leg muscles. Your thigh muscles, hip muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves become completely active and prepare your legs for running. Here are a few stretching exercises when planning your first 5K running race:
PRE-RUN stretches.
Leg swings: Firmly hold a steady and strong pole. Raise your left leg and swing it front and back. Count 20. Again swing that leg sideways for 20 times. Your leg should swing to its complete range of motion. Now repeat the same with another leg.
Walking lunges: Take your right leg in the front. Bend your knee so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your feet firm and aligned properly with your ankle. Push your back down so that you are in the right position. Now slowly come back to the normal position. Repeat the same stretch with left leg. Move ahead while doing so. Your focus should be mainly on the right posture. Move forward 10 steps turn and repeat.
POST-RUN stretches:
Hamstring and Kneeling hip flexor: Kneel down on the ground. Take your right foot forward and fix it firmly on the ground with knee and ankle aligned. Your keen is bent at 90 degrees. Holding your back straight push forward into right hip and support the posture with left knee firmly grounded on the ground. You will feel the stretch on left hip and right hamstring. To feel the stretch along your left hip flexors, focus on your left hip glutes by squeezing and contracting it.
Standing calf: Stand against a wall with your hands on the wall at chest level. Pull your right leg in the front and place the heel on the ground with the toe resting on the wall. Gently lean on the wall by keeping your legs straight. You will feel stretch along the calf. Repeat the same exercise with your left leg.
Standing squad: Stand straight with legs together. Pull your right leg behind and bend it along the knee so that it touches the butt. Hold your right foot with your right hand. While doing so, focus on your leg, so that you feel the stretch along your leg and you hand should be there just for support. Repeat the exercise with another leg.
Holding each stretch for 30 seconds to two minutes will be show better effect on your muscles.   
If you are experiencing any injuries from your running, please consider scheduling a FREE physical therapy assessment today!

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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