Stretching is more beneficial when done before and after the long runs. Warm muscles stretch more easily, so a light warm-up before you stretch is ideal.
Areas to stretch include:
In order to get more detailed information on stretches, consider using the Stretching handbook/dvd/poster.
If you are more visual and relate more to seeing things in action, then a combination of the Stretching handbook-dvd combo would be a good choice.
However, it is not enough to stretch only the good part of the muscle. The knots or kinks in the muscle can be stretched with a roller.
A foam roller is a roller made of foam with a round shape. It is typically 6" wide and 36" in length. Foam rollers are used to work the kinks out of the body. It is an inexpensive way to get a massage. It can be used to roll out the knots in hamstrings, quads, calves, IT band and the back.
The roller is used with your own bodyweight to roll out the kinks. Using the roller is like giving a massage to the injured areas, you have the luxury of giving yourself as much time as you want to a particular area, applying little or more pressure depending on what feels good. Repeated use of the roller will soothe the problem areas.
Depending on the nature of your injury, you can use the roller 2-3 times a week and using it after your long runs is more efficient. Massage is the other option to roll out the kinks and knots.
After the long runs, many areas in the legs will be fatigued or in pain. Icing the particular area immediately after the run helps decrease the pain and inflammation. The suggested maximum time for icing varies from 10 to 20 minutes. Icing for longer periods of time can cause damage to the tissues.
It is crucial to rest your body after the long runs. Taking a day of rest after the long run will help build you strength and help your muscles to recover from the long run.
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