Five minutes before, then five or 10 minutes after you run. If you do these routines the chance that you’ll get injured won’t go to zero, but it will decrease. And if you can do something that keeps you running, allowing you to continue building your aerobic engine, why wouldn’t you invest a small amount of time for such big gains?
1) Front Lunge: Take a lunge by stepping out with your left foot so that your left knee is over your left ankle. Your arms should be in the position they would be in running, so right hand up and roughly a 45-degree angle at the right elbow. Repeat 5 times on each side.
2) Front Lunge with a Twist: Do a front lunge as before, then, when balanced, twist across your body. If you take a lunge with your left leg, then your right shoulder will be over the midline of your body. Repeat 5 times on each side.
3) Side Lunge: Facing forward, take a step to the right, with your feet pointing directly ahead. Then pretend you’re about to sit in a chair, moving your weight over your right foot. Your right knee will be bent and your left leg will be straight. Repeat 5 times on each side.
4) Back and to the Side Lunge: Take a big step back and to the side with your left leg, placing your left foot down at 90 degrees from your right foot. Your left knee should be over your left ankle and your posture should be erect. Your right leg will be straight, with the right knee close to locked. Repeat 5 times on each side.
5) Backwards Lunge: Take a big step backwards with your right leg. Your left knee will be over your left ankle. Your arms should look like “running arms” with your right hand up and roughly a 45-degree angle at the right elbow. Repeat 5 times on each side.
1) Donkey Kicks: Start in a table position, hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Kick one foot back and then “hook” the foot over your back. Repeat 10 times on each side.
2) Scorpions: Lie on your stomach, with your arms out, forming a T with your body. Bring your left foot as close to your right hand as possible, “stinging” the ground with your toe. You’ll feel your lower back working when performing this exercise. Alternating legs, repeat 10 times on each side.
3) Rockies: Assume a push-up position. Go down for a push-up, then up as quickly as you can, clapping your hands, then back to the push-up position. Repeat 5 times
4) Donkey Whips: Start in a table position, hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Bring your right leg straight back, then move it to the right side, so your foot is “outside” your shoulder. Repeat 5 times on each side.
5) Lower Body Crawl (Prone): Lie on your stomach. Bring your bent knee out and forward to the level of your hips, then bring your foot back to the starting position. Alternating legs, repeat 10 times on each side.
6) Iron Cross: Lie on your back, with your arms out, forming a T with your body. Bring your left foot as close as you can to your right hand. Alternating legs, repeat 10 times on each side.
7) Australian Crawl: Lie on your stomach. Pretend to “swim” freestyle, moving your arms and legs. Repeat through 20 “strokes.”
8) Side Pedestal, Leg Lift: Assume the side pedestal position, with your hand under your shoulder and your feet stacked on top of one another. Slowly bring your top leg up, then lower it. Repeat 5 times on each side.
9) Groaners: Sit with your feet flat on the ground and with your knees at a 45-degree angle. Lower your right knee to the ground (or as close to the ground as you can), then return to the starting position. Alternating legs, repeat 10 times on each side.
10) Hurdle Seat Exchange: Start in a hurdle position, with your right leg straight ahead and your left knee on the ground, at a 45-degree angle. Roll towards your right foot, eventually lying flat, face-down on the ground with both feet behind you. Roll up so that your left foot is in front of you and your right knee is on the ground at a 45-degree angle. Alternating legs, repeat 10 times on each side.
Move to a wall or handrail for the remaining exercises.
11) Quick Leg Cycle: Face the wall. Stand with one foot in the air and hold a 45-degree angle at the knee. Quickly scrape the ground under your hips, cycling the foot through a full range of motion. Repeat 5 times on each side.
12) Hurdle Trail Leg Forward: Face the wall, with both hands on the wall. Imagine there’s a hurdle next to you and you want to bring your bent knee over the hurdle. Your foot should be even with your hip joint at the “top” of the hurdle clearance. Repeat 5 times on each side.
13) Hurdle Trail Leg Backward: Perform the same motion as in Hurdle Trail Leg Forward, but in the reverse direction. This direction is much more challenging for most people. Repeat 5 times on each side.
14) Lateral Leg Swing: Face the wall and put both hands on the wall. With your right foot a few inches off the ground, swing your right leg in front of your left leg as far across your body as you can. Then reverse and swing the leg out to the side. Repeat 10 times on each side.
15) Linear Leg Swing Straight Leg: Stand next to the wall, one arm’s length from the wall. Swing the leg closest to the wall out in front of you to roughly hip height, then swing it back as far as you can without arching your back. Repeat 10 times on each side.
16) Linear Leg Swing Bent Knee: Perform the same motion as Linear Leg Swing Straight Leg, but keep your knee bent at a 45-degree angle. The pace of this swing should be a little faster than the straight leg version. Repeat 10 times on each side.