By Sage Rountree
Fall is a season for longer races. Whether you’ve just finished a marathon, half-marathon, or simply a long run, you might feel as though your muscles begin to tighten up the moment you hit stop on your watch and slow your feet down. A short post-race squat can help release tension in your legs and back, and it gives you a moment to collect yourself before you walk over to the post-race snack buffet!
The squat is easy: Just bend your knees till your hips are near your heels. Depending on how tight your calves are, you may need to balance way up on the balls of your feet, or your heels could touch the ground. Resting your hands on the ground can help you balance.
You can have your knees wide or close together – just choose the position that feels most natural for you. Enjoy the stretch for your lower legs, your thighs, your hips and your back. To get even more release in the back and shoulders, grab a partner, hold hands and squat leaning away from each other.
Stay in this position for a few breaths as you observe the state of your body and mind with your run finished. Carefully get up, walk around some, then repeat once or twice more.
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Sage Rountree, Ph.D., is Runner’s World’s expert on yoga for athletes and the author of books including “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga.” A USAT-certified coach, she is co-owner of the Carrboro Yoga Company (mycyco.com). Find her class, clinic, and workshop schedule, as well as dozens of streamable classes, at www.sagerountree.com.