I’m feeling so proud of myself this morning! I finally got up and went for a run… And, believe me when I say, it’s been a while. I used to run religiously. My alarm would be set for sunrise almost every single night before I went to bed and I would (most days) enthusiastically jump out of bed, get dressed, and hit the beach trail right outside my house. I loved running as the sun came up, seeing the beautiful colors, jogging alongside the beach and smelling the ocean. I recently moved away from my beach trail and, to be totally honest, finding the motivation to get out of bed and try to carve new routes through a new neighborhood has NOT felt motivating. But, I got up this morning with the intention of getting a few miles in, and was so glad that I did. A morning run really sets my mood for the day. I get my endorphins geared up early on, my energy and mood are way up and stay that way, and I tend to make better food choices when I know I’ve done something good for my body.
I have to make sure that I take a few minutes to stretch post run because I know that if I don’t, I’ll end up with sore, tight muscles. Stretching in the morning really tests my patience with my body. Poses and stretches that I’m used to sinking deeply into can feel so difficult early in the day. Where my head usually touches my knee, in the morning it hovers a few inches above. Instead of forcing myself down I have to recognize that my muscles aren’t quite warmed up and, instead, pull back a little bit and focus on breathing in the space that I am able to get into. I tell myself that I am thankful that I have a body strong enough to have completed my run and flexible enough to get into the poses, even if it’s just barely there.
Below is my post-run stretching sequence from this morning – it takes just over 5 minutes and will help you cool down and lengthen those strong, runners muscles! I held each pose for about 5 breaths – in all poses, inhale to lengthen your spine and exhale to fold more deeply into the stretch.
Start in Low Lunge – right knee bent at a 90 degree angle, left leg on the ground, tops of all 10 toes pressing into the mat. You can bring your arms overhead and do a mini backbend, or keep your hands on your knee, bending deeply into that front leg. Try to keep your tail tucked and not sink into that leg from your hips.
Pull your right leg back and straight as you bend your left knee, sitting over your left heel – Runners Lunge. Your hands can frame your right thigh, back and neck should stay straight as you bend forward over your right leg. You should feel a good stretch through your right hamstring.
Bend deeply into that right knee again, flipping the toes on your left foot and lifting your left leg off the ground. Bring your hand inside your right foot as you heel-toe that foot to the edge of your mat coming into Lizard Pose. Keep your left leg strong and straight, pressing up through the thigh. You can come down to your forearms to get deeper into the stretch.
Heel-toe that right leg across the mat, bringing your shin down parallel to the front of your mat – Pigeon Pose. You can settle into your hips, keeping them square and the weight distributed evenly between the two. I like to add in a quick back bend, before folding forward over the right leg. You can come down to your forearms, in front of that leg, to get deeper into the stretch. You should feel the stretch along the outside of that right hip.
Roll onto the outside of your right glute and straighten your legs out widely in front of you – Wide Leg Forward Fold. Keeping your spine straight and belly in, walk your hands out in front of you. You can grab for your big toes or just keep your hands on the mat, folding forward. You should feel a stretch on the inside of your thighs.
Bending the right knee, bring the sole of your right foot into your left thigh – Twisted Head To Big Toe Pose. Bring your left hand to the outside of your right foot, twisting through your rib cage. This is one of my favorite poses – the stretch is so yummy! Once you’ve spent a few breaths there, bring your left hand inside of your left leg, right hand over head. Bend at the waist, trying to bring your right hand to your left foot. You should feel a stretch in that left leg and all down the right side of your rib cage. You can come down onto that left forearm, if you have the flexibility.
Bring your right foot on top of your left thigh, bending both knees so your left foot is now flat on the ground – Eye of the Needle. You can walk your left foot closer to your left glute to deepen the stretch. You should feel a stretch through your right glue.
Place your right foot on the ground, outside of your left glue. Left knee comes to the ground and left foot comes alongside your right glute – 1/2 Lord of the Fishes B. Bring your left elbow outside of the right knee, hand in a stop sign position. Right hand should be on the ground behind your right glute. Twist deeply from your rib cage, keeping your belly in tight and your spine straight. Gaze should be over your right shoulder.
Unwind legs, shake them out if you need to and repeat on the left side. I would love to hear your thoughts on the sequence and any areas where you struggle, whether it be with transitions or the poses themselves. Hopefully you’re inspired to either get on your mat and stretch out your limbs, get out for some outdoor exercise, or both! Either way, I promise your mood will be lifted and your day will look just a little bit brighter!
Side Note: I’m addicted to the MapMyRun running app because it helps get me motivated. I like logging my miles, keeping track of the routes I run, seeing the calories I’ve burned and getting to see all of my outdoor workouts laid out. You can add friends so that you can motivate each other, keep track of your nutrition throughout the day and log workouts, other than running.