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Stretches That Will Help You Run Longer

Calf Stretch

Because mobility starts with your lower legs, you must keep your calves flexible. The calves are the muscles located at the back of your lower legs. Lie face-up on the floor and hook a towel, strap or belt around the ball of your right foot. Raise your right leg toward the ceiling and flex your right foot--point your heel to the ceiling, not your toes. Keep your other leg on the floor, either straight or bent. Pull the belt toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your right calf muscle. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds while breathing slowly and relaxing. Repeat with the other leg.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Your hip flexors are a group of muscles at the front of your hips that help you pull your knees toward your stomach. Keeping them flexible will improve your running posture and form. Stretch them by going down on your knees and placing the right foot in front of your left. Bend the right leg at a 90-degree angle, with your right knee over the right ankle. Lift your ribcage high so your spine elongates and your pelvis tilts forward. Flatten your lower back and stretch the front of your left hip. Hold 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Hamstring Stretch

Your hamstrings are the muscles located at the back of your upper thighs. Keeping them flexible will improve your running gait. Do a standing hamstring stretch by standing in front of a wall or a chair. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the wall or the chair back. Move your feet under your hips until your legs are at a right angle to your torso, and flatten your back. Lift your left leg up as high as you can behind you and hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. The left leg can be either straight or bent. Repeat this with your other leg.

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