Heavy Legs, Must Stretch

stretch001I find it interesting how both of the issues that have plagued me over the last year can be connected back to one of the most basic activities a runner can undertake. Ever since I started running I have been plagued by heavy legs. It’s probably something that most runners have encountered, but something I could never get to the bottom of. When running, my legs feel like blocks of concrete and they become a focus of my attention. My breathing and recovery intervals are fine, but my legs feel so heavy that I often struggle to overcome the desire to slow down and walk. Amazingly, the answer was staring me in the face all along. My legs were heavy because my muscles were tight, and my muscles were tight because I was not stretching them enough.

Although it’s true that stretching was featured on my training plan, clearly it wasn’t something I paid a lot of attention to. Seldom was I in a position where I could dedicate time to stretching out my legs, back, and core muscles. I was always running here or there (sometimes with a struggle). But acting on the advice of my physical therapist, I have started to stretch more often and have developed a customized set of activities that focus on key running muscles. I also have a set of recovery stretches and strength exercises that are aimed and promoting healing and muscle building in my knees.

Everyday Stretching

  • Wall Pushups
  • Back Scratch
  • Hamstring
  • Quads
  • Heel to Buttock
  • Hip & Lower Back
  • IT Band
  • Bridge
  • Groin

Knee Rehab Stretching & Strength Building

  • Hamstring
  • Standing Calf
  • Quads
  • Heel Slide
  • Straight Leg Raise
  • Side Lying Leg Lift
  • Wall Squat w/ Ball
  • Clam
  • IT Band

Please note that I am not a trained medical professional and this information is provided in the context of my own experiences for reference purposes only. These plans were designed with my specific situation in mind. If you suffer from similar problems or are designing your own stretching program, please seek out the advice of a trained professional.

Leave a Reply