Cross country running competitions pick up in the fall and winter months. The competitors are usually high school or college age athletes, both male and female. These runners race on open-air courses. The courses usually range from 2.5 to 7.5 miles and can consist of grass, gravel, dirt or any other natural terrain.
These long distances and varied terrain can often cause aches, pains, and injuries if proper stretching and recovery practices are not exercised. Common running injuries include shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and IT band syndrome.
Stretches for Cross Country Running
Stretching before and after a run greatly reduces chances of injury. Take a few minutes to do these simple stretches to stay pain free.
Before You Run:
- Leg Swings: These loosen up your hips. First, hold on to a sturdy object. Next, stand on one leg and swing the other back and forth twenty times. Then switch legs and repeat. Your swing should get bigger until you reach your full range of motion.
- Walking Lunges: These warm up your quadriceps and hamstrings. Take a large step forward with your right leg and bend your knee until your right thigh is parallel with the ground and your knee is directly in line with your ankle. Push back up and draw your left foot even with your right. Then step forward with your left and repeat the steps. Focus on proper form and do ten lunges per leg.
After You Run:
- Hip Flexor and Hamstring Stretch: First, kneel down on one knee with the right leg bent at 90 degrees with your right foot planted on the ground in front of you. Make sure your knee and ankle are aligned. Keeping your back straight, press forward into your right hip while keeping your knee pressed into the ground. Hold for 20 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
- Standing Calf Stretch: Start facing a wall with your hands on the wall at chest level. Next, place the ball of your foot against the wall with your heel still touching the floor. Then gently lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in your calf while keeping your leg straight. Hold for 20 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
Recovery for Cross Country Running
A foam roller is one of the most useful tools for recovery. For runners especially, it is important to roll your calves, IT band, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. Using a foam roller helps relieve soreness and releases any built up adhesions on the fascia that can cause irritation and tightness.
Airrosti Treats Running Injuries
At Airrosti, we know that runners and other active individuals don’t want pain to slow them down. That’s why our providers develop personalized treatment plans for each patient to pinpoint and eliminate the underlying cause of their pain. By treating the source and not just the symptoms, our providers help patients return to pain-free activity in an average of just three visits (based on patient-reported outcomes).
If lingering pain or an unresolved injury is keeping you from reaching your fitness goals, contact Airrosti today to find a provider near you.
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