12 10 2008

A quick squat gently stretches your back, hips, quads and calves to help you bounce back fast after your big event.

After you cross the finish line and are corralled along for your medal, banana, and water, your next instinct is probably to get off your feet. Though your legs are tired, sitting too soon tightens up your muscles, which can delay recovery. Instead, I walk around for about five minutes to give my heart rate a chance to return to normal and then I take a minute for a quick stretch—a squat.

Squatting gently stretches the back, hips, quads, and calves; it encourages fresh blood to pump into these muscles; it keeps the head above the heart (you shouldn’t invert after a hard effort); and it requires no equipment.

  • Squat wide over toes that point slightly outward (as in the photo) or take a tighter squat with your toes facing straight ahead. Either way, keep your knees in line with your ankles.
  • Use your hands to help support you—they can rest on the ground behind you or in front to stop you from toppling forward. If you ran a marathon or are feeling really wobbly, wait until you can find a stable item to hold on to, such as a fence post or chair. Lean away from your support as you drop your hips and heels toward the ground.
  • Take a few slow, deep breaths. When you are ready to stand up, move slowly, keeping your head up. If you need assistance, have a friend or race volunteer pull you up.
  • If you have a running buddy with you, you can partner up to get a bigger back stretch as you squat. Facing your friend, hold onto your partner’s wrists with your hands and step back until your arms are straight and at shoulder height. Now bend your knees toward each other and settle into a squat. Lean away from each other while clasping arms for a comfortable back stretch. When you are both ready to come up, pull on each other as you both slowly straighten your legs.

Sage Rountree, author of The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga, is a yoga teacher, marathoner, and USA Triathlon-certified coach in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.




One response

13 10 2008

this is cool…..

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