As the New York City half marathon pulses life back in to this frozen city, it is undeniable that spring is just around the corner.  Which also means, its the second coming of our summer body ambitions.  As the thaw slowly melts away the remnants of having to wear 12 layers while hobbling between work (gym) and home and we start to lace up with brave ambitions of possibly this year being the game changer of you, “becoming a runner”. 

Big cities have the highest yield of marathon runners, as they essentially breed a disposition for enduring mental and physical stresses.  Now whether you are considering hitting the pavement as a new way to gain energy and boost your body’s fat burning abilities, or you are a tried and true runner through all seasons.  There is something to be said about the simple accessibility of this sport and its ability to take you out of your daily concerns and focus solely on your relationship between the mental and physical body.

The saving grace to running, whether you are taking your sneakers out of the box for the first time or are a seasoned regular, is that you must prepare your body properly!  Running has a tendency to be hard on the hips and knees, and can leave your IT band (side hip-to-upper leg) tight and immovable.  The key to a smooth run is in the movement mechanics! 

Try these four moves before your next run to extend the life of your miles and keep you feeling strong from start to finish.

Couch stretch

Coming in to a lunge variation, you will support your back foot on a couch, bench, or even simply a wall with your back knee as close to the supported object as possible and front leg supporting you in a lunge.  Make sure both hip bones are facing forward and begin tucking your tail bone under, in order to bring length to your lower back.  This will fire up the hip flexor and quad a lot!  Focus on your breath, inhale breathing length through your spine, and exhale scooping the hips under and settling deeper in to the stretch.

Note: If you are one of the lucky ones and your quads or hip flexors are insanely tight, this may pull at your knee.  Simply slide your knee further away from your foot to allow for less stress on your knee cap.

Worlds greatest stretch

Begin in a plank.  Step your right foot forward to the outside of your right hand into a lunge.  Right hand to the back of your head, exhale as you lower the elbow towards the inside arch of your right foot, inhaling as you reach your elbow up towards the sky.  Make sure you’re keeping the front knee over the ankle, and drawing in towards your left shoulder.  Both hands will frame your front leg, as you extend the right leg pressing your hips back evenly you can lift your front toe to help bring length to your back.  Return to plank and repeat on the left side.

Warming up?  Add a pushup between sides and repeat each side 3 x’s.

Isometric Glute kickback

Set yourself up on your hands and knees, making sure your shoulders are directly over the wrists.  You are going to kick one leg up and with a flexed foot squeeze your heel towards your bum, and hold!  Be sure that your body doesn’t compromise by arching your back or shifting weight to one side.  This is an activation drill for your butt and hamstrings, so really focus on the contraction, pushing away from the floor with hands, belly and back. 

Hold 30 seconds each side, repeat 2 x’s

Single leg Romanian deadlift

Standing, begin your balance standing on your right leg.  Start to hinge at the hips, sliding your left leg back with an active flexed foot.  You will bend your standing leg, dropping the upper body like a lever.  Make sure the right knee stays stacked over the ankle.  Slow and controlled, you will know your are doing this correctly when it really fires up your glutes.  Hips should be straight forward, you can help keep your balance by turning your back foot in slightly.

5 reps on each side, try to make each rep last 5-10 seconds

 

Head of Video: Tina Rosh  DP: Nadia Agsen

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