So since my knee had a ‘moment’ at the weekend I’ve spent many hours frantically searching the internet (as you do when you get injured 2 weeks before your first half marathon) for appropriate stretches that could help to strengthen the muscles in my thighs and glutes. Apparently when these muscles are weak -so the internet tells me – it can cause/contribute to knee pain.
I thought i’d share the stretches i’ve found with you all. I’ve no idea if they are helping, or if they will help, but I figure at this point if it might help its probably worth trying. I’ve also read time and time again that cross training and strengthening exercise can benefit your running (precisely to help prevent you getting injured) but I could never be bothered before. Well now i’ve had a scare i’m thinking I might try a little harder to incorporate the stretching and cross-training into my routine, you know “just incase”.
This is the first stretch i’ve been doing. The side lying leg lift. I’m currently doing 20 reps of this one which should help strengthen my glutes:
Then there is this lovely ‘clam shell’ stretch. I’m sure I look like a complete dufus doing it – but I can definitely feel the pull on this one. Again i’m doing 20 reps of these a day at the moment:
This particular stretch was recommended by my physio friend at work. It should help stretch/strengthen my IT band muscles. I try to hold it for about 20 seconds:
Then finally – this one, which is by far the worst! I can only do about 5 reps of this at the moment, And my right leg (the injured one) is far more shakey than my left leg, so hopefully that will improve with time.
Other than these stretches i’ve been resting since Saturday and icing my knee a couple of times a day. There was a lingering pain on Monday, mostly when walking down slopes or stairs, but since yesterday that seems to have disappeared. So i’m planning a very short jog around the neighbourhood this evening just to see how it’s feeling. Any pain and i’ll be stopping and walking immediately.
Do you have any regular stretches or strengthening exercises you build into your training regime? Have you felt an improvement in your running from adding regular strengthening exercises? I’d love to know in the comments.