Tayte Pollmann’s articles are supported by American Trail Running Association corporate member Nike Trail Running. You can follow Tayte’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you liked this article, read even more of Tayte’s articles on our website.
Incorporating mobility exercises into your training is one of the best ways to avoid common running-related injuries and can even make you faster. Mobility of the back, hips and ankles are particularly important for running. The following video includes my go-to 8-minute mobility routine you can use before or after running. See below for a list of the exercises in the video and helpful tips for performing them correctly.
Yoga Squat or Modified Yoga Squat (1 minute)
If your ankles are tight, you may prefer to start out with the Modified Yoga Squat. Use a pillow or other prop to elevate your heels. This will lessen the stretch on your ankles. Try variations with your feet facing out and straight.
Toe Stand (1 minute)You should feel a nice stretch in your big toes and on the bottom of your feet. Make sure to come out slowly from this pose. It can be quite intense for some people.
Dorsiflexion Stretch (1 minute per side)
Try pushing your knee in different directions, towards the big toe, middle of the foot and pinky toe.
Hands to Feet Stretch (1 minute)
Consider rocking side to side on each leg to deepen the stretch in your hamstrings and back. For a more advanced variation, you can walk forward while holding your feet.
Supine Leg Swings (30 seconds)
Try to keep your shoulders pinned to the floor. This will keep the stretch in your back.
Scorpions (30 seconds)
Raise and lower your foot slowly. Attempt to touch your foot to the ground each time.
Hurdle Drills (1 minute)
All runners can benefit from the hip mobility gained by practicing hurdle drills, even if you’re not a hurdler or steeplechaser.
Experiment with different types or leg raises and hip circles. You can use lower or higher objects to hurdle over depending on your current hip mobility and familiarity with hurdle drills. See the video below of Noah Schutte, Dutch National steeplechase and cross country champion, performing hurdle drills.
Editor’s Note: Be safe as we continue to navigate the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to follow the recommendations and updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including proper hygiene practices. Also consider reading iRunFar’s COVID-19: A Trail Running and Ultrarunning Community Guide.