Best Calf Stretches for Runners

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

My nemesis has always been my pesky calves. While they are super strong, they are also tight AF the majority of the time. It’s a constant battle to keep my calves in a happy place. If my calves are happy that means my feet and ankles are equally as happy. I’ve had my fair share of foot and ankle issues over the years, including one of a the most hated injuries for a runner – Plantar Fasciitis. Along the way, I’ve learned that when I slack off on showing love to my calves, I pay the price.

You might be one of the lucky ones who has never felt the wrath of tight calves but maybe you started increasing your mileage during these odd pandemic times. Maybe your calves have started talking to you. My advice: take the call. Don’t ignore tight calves. It will catch up to you and you’ll be wishing you paid more attention to your calves.

Here’s the best calf stretches for runners that I’ve found to help me. It doesn’t take long to make a big difference. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds and you’ll be done in less than 5 minutes.

Double Calf Stretch

Lean into a wall or whatever you have near you while keeping both heels on the ground to feel a great stretch in both calves. If you can’t feel anything, stand back farther.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

Traditional Calf Stretch

An oldie but a goodie that hits the calves in just the right spot. Take it up a notch by bringing your back foot in a bit while keeping a slight bend in your knee for a nice soleus stretch.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

Heel Drop off a Step

Without a doubt, this is always my #1 stretch post run. I feel a stretch every single time. If you are short on time, you can always do both heels down but I feel a better stretch doing it as a single.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Downward Facing Dog

I love down dog for stretching out my calves but I feel it a little bit more when I do it as a single leg.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

Of course, I can’t talk about showing love to your calves without mentioning the foam roller or The Stick. It’s tough love for sure but rolling out your calves in addition to stretching are your best bets for injury free running. It’s easy to slack off on each but keep it up and you’ll notice a difference!

What are your go-to calf stretches?

Do you have an area that needs extra attention to stay injury free?

Linking up with Runners’ Roundup

My Week in Workouts

My week in workouts | happyfitmama.com

Another week down, another rundown of my week in workouts. Going into the week I felt like I needed a down week. No chasing vert. No picking up the pace on purpose. No distance goals. Just running what I felt like. I mean, that’s how I usually run with nothing to really train for right now but I’ll have a certain numbers in my head that I want to achieve for each run. This week…nothing.

Monday

strength training

It was our 18th wedding anniversary today! We celebrated with ordering curbside take out from a local restaurant. The pickings are slim right now but even more so on a Monday. Most restaurants are open for curbside Wednesday-Sunday or only the weekends. Not exactly the most fun way to celebrate our anniversary but we did the best we could with what we have.

My week in workouts | happyfitmama.com
Ron surprised me with an art project!

Prior to our date night in, I got a quick 30 minute full body strength training session in when I got home from work while Ron finished up his work day. I wasn’t horribly motivated but I committed myself to do something. Something is always better than nothing.

Tuesday

5 mile trail run

It feels like spring is here to stay…finally. I’m thoroughly enjoying the sunshine that seems to be in abundance lately. Max and I hit the trails where he embraced my “no plan” week of training. There was plenty of run, stop, sniff, pee, repeat…from Max, not me. 😉

Wednesday

5 mile trail run

strength training

It was another gorgeous day so Max and I hit the trails. We didn’t see another soul into we were almost back to the trailhead when we saw three women walking with a dog off leash. That’s totally fine if your dog doesn’t come barreling at me or my dog. However, just a PSA, if you know that your dog does not like other dogs (which the owner of this dog knew by the way she reacted when she saw us), please keep your dog on a leash. I really don’t think you will want to pay someone else’s vet bills or ER visit bill because you were irresponsible.

Max was fine but it could have gotten really nasty quickly. And then it would not be fine. Ugh…so annoying.

Thursday

5 mile road run

evening flow yoga

Max and I mixed it up today with a road run. It was mostly because I had a short time frame before work to sneak in some miles. I tried the Peleton app’s 10 minute pre-run warm up for something different than my usual dynamic warm up. It was good except for the neck/back warm up portion. That didn’t seem to sit well with me for the first couple of miles of the run. Things loosened up and I forgot about it. I’ve got a cranky neck from an injury when I was 18 so it should be no surprise that it wouldn’t like it.

My next was still cranky after work so I did a 30 minute evening flow yoga class before bed. Sitting in ‘thread the needle’ for a few minutes did the trick.

Friday

rest day

Saturday

6 mile run with the kids on bikes

After a horrible night of sleeping thanks to the first warm day/night of the year and then going to work early in the morning and my allergies kicking up, I was spent. When I got home from work I took a nap. When I woke up, I felt a little bit better so I asked the kids is they wanted to join me on their bikes for my run. We cruised along, chatted and enjoyed the beautiful sunny afternoon.

Sunday

6.3 mile trail run, 1894 ft elev gain

Reunited and it feels so good!! With things in New Hampshire starting to open up more, Kyle and I felt ready to run together again…while social distancing, of course. I know not everyone is comfortable with things like that or are in an area that isn’t at that level yet. Everyone is different so put the judgement away if that’s where you were going.

Besides being reunited with Kyle, I was also reunited with a mountain run. It was so amazing to get some vert and dirt on a gorgeous blue sky day. It has been way too long. And to catch up with a friend was icing on the cake.

Thankfully, we went early enough to beat the crowds because the trailhead was getting packed just as we finished up. The early bird definitely gets the worm.

How was your week in workouts?

Linking up with the Weekly Run Down.

Why You Should Never Start Running

Why you should never start running | happyfitmama.com

I’ve posted this in the past but with so many new runners out on the roads and trails right now, I thought it would be a good idea to warn the newbs about their dangerous as they start running.

Runners – You see them everywhere. They look so happy, fit, athletic and strong as they grind out the miles on treadmills, roads and trails.

You want to be like that. You want to be a runner.

If you talk to any runner, they will rattle off all of the benefits of running. For most runners, it’s because running has so profoundly changed their lives that they want to shout about it from the rooftops. They want you to join the running community. When you get it, you understand. You realize running is way more than just exercise.

But the truth is, running isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.  There are some very real reasons why someone may want to become a cyclist instead. In order to save you from any pain or suffering, it may be best that you never even think about running.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

You will own more running shoes than regular shoes.

You used to have nice things. Now you just have 100 pairs of running shoes. You’ll need a pair for road running, trail running, treadmill running and then extras to rotate through.  Don’t want to get an injury after all! Why squeeze your feet into uncomfortable dress shoes when you can be relaxed and free in your running shoes? It’s the same thing with regular clothes. You’ll want to wear your running clothes everywhere.  You never know when you might need to run somewhere. It’s best to be prepared!

Why you should never start running | happyfitmama.com

You will have an earlier bedtime.

There will come a time when you’ll have to choose between going out with friends on a Friday night for drinks or staying home to rest because you have a long run in the morning. There’s nothing worse than running long with a hangover. Your wild weekend nights will turn into being fast asleep before 10 p.m. And if I’m really being honest, it’s more like 9 p.m.

Your feet will look like aliens.

Running will tear your feet up. There will be callouses, blisters, and you may lose toenails.  Your feet will swell and grow a larger size. Be prepared to apologize every time you go in for a pedicure. It’s best to warn the nail technician for what they are about to see. It won’t be pretty.

You will take more pictures of your shoes and GPS watch than ever before.

Ironically, despite having alien feet, you will post more pictures of your sweet running kicks than ever before on social media. In addition, watch selfies and runfies will be a regular on your Insta feed.

You will need to learn a new language.

PR, PDR, GRP, Gu, DNS, DNF, Fartlek, Tempo. To speak runner, you need to know the language. So many new words!

You will want to talk about it all the time.

Your non-running friends will begin to avoid you just so they won’t have to hear about your last race. No worries. Everyone will see it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter because you post about every.single.run. Your coworkers might think they are safe from your running ramblings. Ha ha! Guess again. They’ll get the full rundown of your long run on Monday morning. And then you’ll get to bear the chatter about next weekend’s long run or race the closer Friday approaches.

You will want to run all the time.

Driving down a street, you may see a runner and instantly wish it was you running. Even though you just ran that morning, you still want to run. If you are injured, you’ll want to run. If you are on a bike, you wish you were running. You just want to run. Running is your favorite!

If you can endure the horrible side effects of running, then I highly encourage you to lace up your running shoes. Running can and most likely will change your life for the better. It’s totally worth all the horrible side effects just to endure the glory of a great run.

What other warnings would you offer to a new runner?

Linking up with Runners’ Roundup