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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

‘Cardio Cat: Preventing injuries

Risa Johnson
Risa Johnson

My half-marathon is only five days away and my worst fear is getting injured in the next few days.

I just defeated my annual fall cold and got my free flu shot on campus so luckily my sickness is out of the way.

Stretching, easy runs and keeping a clean diet are my focuses for the week. Here are some tips for increasing flexibility and keeping injury-free:


Wake up your muscles and do dynamic stretches like hip swings and leg kicks. Don’t do static stretches, such as touching your toes and doing lunges. Static stretching before a run risks injury.

While doing research, I found a quote from former Chico State kinesiology professor Duane Knudson in the New York Times in 2008. Knudson described feeling disheartened watching many athletes warm up before practice.

“They’re stretching, touching their toes,” he said. “It’s discouraging.”


Feet Fleet held a yoga class for runners a few weeks ago where I learned some great post-run stretches to prevent injuries. They’ve worked for me so here they are:

1. Stand with your feet together and extend your left leg back a regular step length. Bend your right knee until you feel a stretch in your hamstring but don’t let your knee extend over your ankle. Switch legs.

2. Go into a lunge with your right leg forward. Lift your left leg with your left hand and balance yourself by placing your right hand on your knee. Now do the opposite, stretching your left hamstring.

3. This is like a sprinter’s start. Go into a deep lunge with your face into the ground. Stretch the opposite side.

4. Lie on your back and lift your legs in the air, holding them together on the outsides of your feet.

5. Sit down and extend your left leg, reaching both arms as close to your toes as you can. Now stretch your right leg.

The tool you should try

Foam rollers are great for preventing injuries and relaxing sore muscles.

Generic foam rollers cost about $10 on Amazon.

If you are interested in getting a higher quality foam roller, Feet Fleet sells Trigger Point the GRID foam roller. These things are amazing. They give you a deep tissue massage.

Unfortunately they run for $40 — so I’ll just continue to steal my mom’s when I’m home.

Use dynamic stretches before work outs and consider using a foam roller. Your muscles will be less sore, you will prevent injuries and increase flexibility.

If I didn’t have my race this weekend, I would sign up for the Run for Respect. This 5k is on Oct. 12 and it’s only $10 to sign up and you get a free tee shirt.

This run is a collaboration between the WildCat Recreation Center and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.


Risa Johnson can be reached at [email protected].

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