Stretching help needed please

Hi! Can anyone help me with some very simple stretches, please?

A few weeks ago I started the Couch to 5k course. For those who don’t know, it’s an app for your phone that will take you, over the course of 9 weeks, from someone who’s most exercise is getting up from their couch to being able to jog 5k non-stop.

I’m on week three, and I am feeling better for it. One problem though is that towards the end of the longer jogging sessions the backs of my calves are feeling tight, and I really should do some stretching.

I had a look online, but the one I chose was probably too advanced for me, as when I started doing a brisk walk the top of my foot felt really weak and I knew that it would not cope with jogging. I abandoned that one, and did it 24 hours later, and my foot had recovered.

So what I could do with are simple stretches that someone who is morbidly obese and very unfit can do to warm up their muscles before going out for their gentle jogs. And if there is anything I should be doing after I get back, that would be great too!

If anyone is interested, here is the plan; I’m on week 3, and my third run of the week will be tomorrow night.

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An easy calf stretch is to put one foot in front of the other, keep your weight on your back foot and raise the toes of the front foot so that only the heel is resting on the floor.
It sounds more complicated than it is. :slight_smile:
Some people put their hands on the front knee as well, because they say it helps with balance, but its not essential.
Best of luck with the program and Please let us know how you go!

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Here are 3 “basic” leg stretches that I would recommend starting with, with notes on variations:

Thigh: Stand on one leg — put your hand on a wall or table to help balance if needed — and pull the other foot up towards your bum. (Alternative version: kneel on the floor, and lean backwards)

Hamstring: One leg in front of the other. Front foot pointing forwards, back foot at about 45° for balance. Front leg straight, back leg bent, lean over forwards — towards the front foot, not off to the side. Try to keep your hips square. You can put your hand mid-thigh of the front leg for balance — not on the knee itself, you don’t want to over-stress the joint. (Advanced forms: toes up with the foot flat, or whole foot pulled up on the heel. Front foot only, the back foot is there for balance!)

Calf: One foot in front of the other, quite a long stance. Hands on a wall or table for balance if needed. Front leg has the knee bent, for balance. Back leg is straight; toes on floor, heel in air. Slowly move your weight backwards, pushing the heel towards the ground. (To stretch the inside of the upper-leg, turn the back foot through 90°, so that the instep rests on the floor, and push your weight forwards — bending the front knee further to deepen the stretch)

You should make sure to do some stretches after your run too, to help loosen off the muscles, and prevent them from being (as) stiff and sore the next couple of days. (i.e. “Warmup” before, and “Cooldown” after)

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There are some good apps to help you stretch, with animations and timers to help you out :slight_smile:

I’ve tried the couch to 5k several times, but never finished. Feeling motivated to try again now

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Chroncidal was faster than me since I would have adviced the same stretches. They are some of the most basic ones I’ve been using for years, easy to reproduce and efficient.

Best of luck Stephen! :slight_smile:

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Thanks @@Stephen , you’ve inspired (at least) one stranger today! I actually really enjoyed it :running_woman::ocean:

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@Chronocidal or @Jarvis , do you know a good alternative for the hamstrings? Or do you have a picture of the pose?

I tried yours, but didn’t really feel anything, so I’m sure I’m doing something wonky. Sat on the floor with my legs stretched and tried to grab my feet instead

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Good luck!

I’m using the NHS app, and have selected the brilliant comedy writer and performer Sanjeev Kohli as my coach. Who have you got for yours?

I used this one, it’s pretty basic. It’s a running schedule and not much more. Can only choose between a male or female robotic voice.

I also downloaded an app called Start Running, but it wanted to sync with Google health, I’m not sure I want that

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You can download the podcasts for the NHS app from iTunes, if you’re interested?

I’ve not done that; it’s all on my app.

Thanks for the tip! I “zapped” through it a bit, there are some songs in there that would drive me nuts :sweat_smile:

The app I choice is pretty simple, in a good way. It will tell me when to walk/run and give some praise every now and then. It’s compatible with any music app, so I was listening to Metallica at the same time :grin:

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That works in pretty much the NHS App works too. There are some additional features; you can set a reminder for the next run and it has a load of links to the BBC iPlayer for different running mixes if you haven’t one of your own.

It should look something roughly like this:

If it’s not putting enough of a stretch on, then you can lean forwards further, and/or make it lower & longer; I usually end up looking more like this:
HamstringStretch_2

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How long should I do the stretches for?

For static-stretching like that, I’d suggest holding the stretch for about 15–20 seconds, then either swapping legs, or changing to a different stretch, and probably 2 or 3 sets; however, you’ll probably start to pick up a better feel for yourself as to whether that’s enough to get you feeling looser or not.

Before the run, you might want to do 2 sets, then some jogging-on the spot (10-sec “knees up”, 10-sec “heels to bum”) to get some warmth into the muscles, and do another 2 sets. After the run, you’ll have plenty of heat in the muscles, the aim is to smooth everything out again.

Start out slowly, and lower yourself into the stretch carefully, especially if you’re not used to it; you want to hold it long enough that the muscle fibres start to unbunch, but not jerk or tear anything. A lot of people returning to sports injure themselves trying to drop straight back into the stretches where they were when they went on hiatus.

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Are there any other warm up/cool down stretches I can do to help the whole leg and other parts of the body?

BTW, just completed run two of week 4. 3 min run, 90 seconds cool down brisk walk, 5 min run, 2.5 cool down, 3 min run 90 seconds cd, 5 min run.

Hard, but the feeling of triumph at the end!

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Good for you!

I just bought an airbike to get things started. It’s like a combination of hometrainer and crosstrainer. In the summer I’ll pick up skating again, and really want to be able to make long runs with that at the end of summer.
My goal isn’t exactly a week goal, but slow works better for me :grin:

P.S. Sorry, no tips here.

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I can’t talk now, and I mean that literally… I can’t talk, only breathe heavily, but:

I JUST RAN TWENTY MINUTES NON-STOP! WOOHOO!

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Time to open the champagne. Or is that counterproductive? Anyways, you’re doing really good! Keep it up!

I just had this delivered, and it’s for arms and legs. If I use both at the same time, it’s going really fast, so I try to train one at a time. For my arms, 5 minutes is pretty much enough to give me muscle pain the next day (is it called muscle pain?) I want to do that for 15-20 minutes without stopping as well.

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I wish you the best of luck!

Up until this point I wasn’t certain I’d be able to do it. Over the past 5 weeks, I’d gradually been running longer and longer, but there was always a break for walking somewhere in the run. On Sunday it was 5 minute run, walk, 8 minute run then walk and another 5 minutes. Long, but I’d run fir that length of time previously, albeit in smaller chunks.

On Tuesday, it was two 8 minute runs with a walk in between. I was confident I could do that, as I had managed that amount of running two days before.

But today was more time running than I had ever run before in the previous weeks, and with no breaks at all!

Completing this run has given me the confidence to know I will succeed. This Sunday and next Tuesday will be build up runs and walks to allow me to run 25 mins next Thursday. After that it’s 28 mins running, then 30 and finally in week nine, 32 minutes.

I have no idea if I will have run for 5km if I run non-stop for 32 minutes, but I don’t care; for me it’s just being able to run that length of time!

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