Getting away to the cabin can be the highlight of any season for those of us with a passion for travel or anyone who adores being surrounded by the natural beauty of the wilderness.
Even if you do your best to plan, there’ll always be things we can easily ‘forget’ once our brains are in travel mode.
You’ve planned healthy road trip meals for the drive up to the cabin. You brought your emergency road trip kit, in case you run into issues on your journey. Smart thinking – these are important to keep in mind anytime you have a long drive ahead of you.
You’re even committed to sticking to your morning fitness routine while you’re on your trip. It’s initiatives like this that sets you up to Getaway Well, by focusing on healthy eating and getting exercise while traveling.
But if you just hop out of bed and get moving, you could be setting yourself up for an unexpected problem – pulled muscles, strains, or worse, muscle tears.
What you need is a pre-run stretch routine. This will help you limber up before you get running, and help avoid all those pesky injuries that can throw a wrench into the whole rest of your trip.
But what is a pre-run stretch routine? Why is a pre-run stretch routine important? What are the benefits of a pre-run stretch routine?
On this page, we’ll discuss all these things. Plus, we’ll also talk about what dynamic stretching is vs static stretching, as well as what the best dynamic stretches to do are.
Protecting yourself from injury is crucial to maintaining good physical fitness. To ensure you always Getaway Well, let’s talk about pre-run stretching.
While there are a few different movements that you can do to limber up your muscles before you go for a run, anytime you take the time to stretch before you start, a pre-run stretch routine is what you’re doing.
There are two distinct types of stretching that you can do: static and dynamic. Each of them has its unique benefits for you.
Static stretching is done by moving a muscle or joint as far as it will go, and then holding it in that position for a set duration.
This could be a motion like reaching down to touch your toes and holding yourself in that position for 5-10 seconds, before standing again.
Many runners also lift their leg to rest their heel on an object (usually no higher than their waist) and then stretch their knee and calf muscles once their leg is fully extended.
Unlike static stretching, if you’re moving your muscles or joints in certain motions repeatedly (like sets), dynamic stretching is what this is called.
Do you swing your legs back and forth to get the blood moving and stretch out the muscles before you go for a run? That’s a dynamic stretch.
There have been a lot of arguments over the years by fitness experts about which types of stretches are best for you. These days, the consensus has become that dynamic stretching is what you should do before your workout, while static stretches are better for post-workout stretching.
Before we demand that our muscles increase their normal activities, we must give them time to prepare for the exercise we’re asking them to do – like going for a run.
When we’re sitting or relaxing, many of our muscles are retracted or shortened compared to their full length. However, when we’re running, we’re asking those muscles to stretch past their normal resting points.
The main reason why a pre-run stretch routine is important is that a muscle that’s been stretched can much more easily handle the stress of physical exercise, as opposed to a muscle that’s not been stretched out before your workout.
If you’re not stretching before you run, you’re dramatically increasing your chances of injury while you’re running, since your muscles may not be prepared to handle the stress of your movements.
When you’re at the cabin, the last thing you want is an injury. Even a strained muscle could put a serious damper on the rest of your trip. Also, you can’t get the exercise you need to remain healthy if you’re stuck on the couch recovering from an injury.
Not only will you lessen the opportunity for injuries when you stretch before you run, but there are other benefits of a pre-run stretch routine to think about as well.
Cardio, arguably the biggest benefit of doing a run as part of your fitness regimen, functions best when we give ourselves a warm-up.
Not only does this give our bodies a chance to ease into a workout, but it’s easier on our hearts and lungs too.
Think about it – when your heart rate spikes, it doesn’t make you feel very good. It can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, or even cause you to feel faint.
Going from a dead stop into a full run is much harder for your body to adjust to. Doing a pre-run stretch routine gives your heart a chance to work its way up to full speed, which makes it less likely to make you start to feel ill when you’re running.
What are the Best Dynamic Stretches to Do?
To save you time hunting online, here are some great options for anyone wondering “what are the best dynamic stretches to do before a run?”
This is great for stretching out your hip joints, as a low-impact warm-up to your pre-run stretch routine.
Just stand on one leg, with a wall or table for support. Then gently swing your leg in small circles to the side of your body.
Do 15 to 20 of these circles, then change to the other leg and repeat.
Only stretch as far as you are comfortable. You’ll eventually be able to increase your range of motion with your hips if you do this stretch regularly.
This stretch is great for your arms, elbows, and shoulders. It’s also good to get the blood pumping before a run.
Stand up straight and extend your arms out to your sides.
Then, make large circles with your arms 5 to 10 times. Once you’ve done forward circles, switch and do them in the reverse direction.
This stretch is fantastic for your hips as well, but specifically to improve mobility in the backward and forwards motions that your body uses when you run.
Start by standing on one leg and lifting the other. Hold onto a wall or table for support, if you need it to help you balance.
Lock your knee and swing your entire leg forwards and up towards your chest, and then backward and up towards your back. Only bring the leg as far forward or backward as is comfortable, without bending your knee.
Do these 5 to 10 times, then switch to the other leg and repeat.
This is a bit more of a high-impact stretch, which is why it’s a good idea to leave this one to the end of your pre-run stretching routine.
Begin this stretch by jogging in place for a few seconds, and then pause.
Reach behind you to grab hold of one of your feet and pull your leg up towards your back to stretch out your quad. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds.
Release the leg and begin jogging again for a few seconds, before repeating the quad stretch with your other leg.
Do these 5 to 10 times with both of your legs, and you’ll be ready to get out there to start your run.
Those examples are exactly what dynamic stretching is all about. As you can see, they’re relatively easy to do, and they can make a huge impact on your flexibility and comfort while running.
Start incorporating those into your pre-run stretching routine, and you’ll be ready to run circles around the unprepared.
Make the most of your time at the cabin. Bask in the sun. Do some swimming. Eat like a (healthy) king or queen. And when you’re planning your morning jog to work off those extra calories from the night before, make sure to include some of our suggested pre-run stretches.
Take the time to warm up properly, and not only will your workout benefit from it, but you’ll Getaway Well.