Race day is quickly approaching. All the long runs are done and now comes the most challenging part of training…the taper. Reduced mileage and decreased intensity can cause a sense of anxiousness and worry that fitness is being lost. Every small ache and pain can seem to be a major obstacle to achieving your race day goal. The key to solving the tapering blues is to relax, enjoy the extra energy you’ve found and ignore the small aches that pop up with rest.
Now is a great time to focus on stretching and reduce the strengthening part of your training program. Below are a couple of stretches that can help improve mobility and safely expend the nervous energy that comes with less running.
Hamstring Stretch – While lying on your back, bend your knee and grab behind your thigh with both hands. Tuck your knee in towards your chest. Straighten your knee up towards the ceiling; you should feel a stretch behind your thigh. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax and let your knee bend. Keep your hands behind your thigh and repeat. Perform 10 times.
Piriformis Stretch – While lying on your back, grab your knee with the hand on the same side, and grab your shin with your other hand. Pull your knee diagonally towards the opposite shoulder. When you feel a stretch in the hip, gently pull the shin to “twist” the hip until you feel a deeper stretch. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Keep your hands in the same position and repeat. Perform 10 times.
Maintaining flexibility in your hips allows you to run more efficiently, improves your cadence, and often reduces the frequency of overuse injuries. These stretching recommendations reflect some of the basics about avoiding taper pains.
As always, seek medical advice should you be experiencing more painful symptoms. Feel free to call (614-981-1979) or email (Info@FitForLifePhysicalTherapy.com) us with questions or comments. Fit For Life Physical Therapy is proud to be Fleet Feet + FrontRunner’s physical therapy partner. We will keep you moving – no matter what you do.
Joe Simko, PT | Joe.Simko@fitforlifephyiscaltherapy.com
Dana Brown, PTA | Dana.Brown@fitforlifephysicaltherapy.com
Fit For Life Physical Therapy