Between dueling studies and common wisdom, the verdict is still out on whether or not runners should stretch after a workout to prevent injury. Several recent reports have shown that stretching has little to no effect on injury prevention, but doctors have yet to agree on those results. If you choose to err on the side of tradition, try out these 5 runners’ stretches after your next jog.
Upper Calf Stretch
Find an empty wall and standing in front of it, facing forward. Step your left back, about a foot, and keep it straight. Bend your right leg to gently stretch your left calf. Repeat on the other side.
Lower Calf Stretch
Take a step closer to the wall so that you’re standing parallel to it. Keeping your left foot flat on the ground, place your weight on your left leg, and bend it. This will stretch your lower calf muscles. Repeat on the right leg.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Step forward into a deep lunge, left foot forward. Drop your right knee to the ground and raise your right heel Keep your hips squared and torso upright to increase the stretch in your left hip flexor. Repeat on the opposite side.
Lying Quadriceps Stretch
Lie down on your stomach and stretch your arms out like Superman. Bend your left leg and reach behind you with your left arm to grab it. You can use a band to help you reach if necessary. Pull your left leg backward to stretch the quadriceps.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Roll over onto your back and stretch your legs out. Raise your left leg, keeping it straight. If you can, grab your left calf with your hands and pull your leg forward. You can also use a band to help reach.
There are so many great non-fiction outdoor adventure books on the market right now, that it’s easy to forget about those “made up” stories as well! Clear your reading list (and your calendar) and add these new and classic novels to the queue.
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Everyone should read (and perhaps re-read!) this classic outdoor adventure by Jack London. It’s one of the greats. Set in Alaska during the Gold Rush, Call of the Wild is the story of a heroic dog named Buck who is stolen from his home and forced to become a sled dog in Alaska. Although there have been several film renditions of the story, nothing can improve upon London’s prose, based upon his real-life experiences in Alaska.
Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers’ latest novel takes us to the far reaches of the Alaskan wilderness. Josie and her children are on the run, in a rattling old RV, from foes real and imagined. What follows is a funny, often bizarre adventure that reflects on contemporary American life.
The Hunter by Julia Leigh
Exploring the Tasmanian wilderness as well as the wilderness of the mind, The Hunter is a dark journey into one man’s obsession. The Hunter arrives in Tasmania, under the employ of a mysterious Company, and is tasked to kill the last thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger). His mission takes him deep into the dark and dangerous wilderness in search of a supposedly extinct animal.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Forget Jack Sparrow for a moment and let’s talk about Long John Silver. R.L. Stevenson’s classic novel is the pinnacle of sea-faring adventures. It follows the young Jim Hawkens, a cabin boy on the Hispanola, who is pulled into a search for buried treasure. His adventure takes him onto the Spanish Main where he must contend with ruthless pirates that would give Barbossa a run for his money!
Pacific Crest Trail, Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.
Ultralight backpackers and thru-hikers are famous (or perhaps infamous) for the seemingly crazy lengths they go to lighten their backpack. If you’re looking to drop a couple pounds from your base weight, try utilizing these four ultralight backpacking tips. (See our story from June for more ideas.)
- Replace your tent stakes
When you’re talking ounces, replacing the tent manufacturer’s stakes with an ultralight version can save you up to two, three, maybe even four ounces. We like Gossamer Gear’s ultralight titanium stakes, which weigh roughly .2oz each. Or, you can go sans stakes and use rocks to stretch out your tent.
- Carry fewer electronics
GPS. Phone. Camera. Portable battery chargers. Solar panels. And then all the cables that go with them. Experience nature with fewer screens. If you have a good smartphone, you can download a GPS app – like GAIA – and use the built-camera. That automatically eliminates two devices in your backpack.
- Make a DIY pillow
Why carry a pillow (11 oz.) when you can make one yourself when you get to camp? Fill a stuff – like the one you carry your sleeping bag in – with your extra layers: rain gear, insulating jacket, extra pair of socks.
- Pack for the weather
Check the highs and lows, chance for precipitation, or other weather events. If it’s not going to be too cold, there’s no need to pack a winter weight jacket. Are you hiking in the desert with 0% chance of rain? Try swapping out your normal rain gear for an ultralight and compressible water-resistant running smock. Of course, it should go without saying, you should always have your basic layers to keep you warm and dry in case of an emergency.
There’s a reason why we love our hometown of Durango, CO so much – there’s so many incredible hiking trails, it’s difficult to choose one! If you’re visiting Southwest Colorado this summer, be sure to check out a few of our favorite hikes.
The Highland Mary Trail climbing toward the Continental Divide. Photo by Margaret Hedderman.
Named for a nearby mine, the Highland Mary Trail is one of Southwest Colorado’s true gems. Starting at 10,750 ft., the trail quickly climbs above treeline and affords incredible views of the San Juan Mountains almost the entire way. Once you reach the first Highland Mary Lake at 12,310 ft., it’s an easy hike to the nearby Verde Lakes where, believe it or not, the views are even better. Roundtrip, the hike is roughly 6.6 miles. It’s also possible to connect to the Continental Divide Trail and make an 8-mile loop.
The outlet stream flowing out of Ice Lake near Silverton, CO. Photo by Larry Gross.
Another favorite near Silverton is the Ice Lakes Trail. Though its only 3.5 mile to the main lake, it’s a real slog. You’ll climb nearly 2,500 ft. from the trailhead to the lake! Because this trail takes you above tree line, you’ll want to start early to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms. Plus, it’s one of the most popular trails in the region, so you’ll want to beat the crowds. If you fancy additional altitude, hike another mile up the steep rocky ridge above Ice Lake to reach the gorgeous Island Lake.
Indian Trail Ridge
Indian Trail Ridge near Durango, CO. Photo by Margaret Hedderman
You’ll need access to a 4WD vehicle to reach the trailhead as it begins at the top of Kennebec Pass, 11,600 ft. This is one of the Colorado Trail’s most spectacular sections, but it’s completely exposed so you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather. Follow the CT to Taylor Lake (a lovely campsite, if you’d like to stay the night and hike Indian Trail Ridge the following morning). From there, you’ll quickly gain elevation to the top of the ridge. The La Platas are every bit as spectacular as the San Juans and see considerably less traffic. Enjoy the views! Once you’ve gained the ridge, it’s easy to follow north with little elevation gain.
Mountain View Crest
The hike to Mountain View Crest. Photo by Larry Gross.
Another trail that requires 4WD, Mountain View Crest is perhaps one of the easiest, yet most rewarding hikes in the Durango area. Follow the Lime Mesa Trail, which begins at 11,800 ft. to the top of Mountain View Crest. Here the mesa suddenly breaks away, revealing views of the Animas River, the Weminuche Wilderness, and numerous 14ers. All in all, the trail gains little elevation (only 700 ft.), so it’s a pleasant way to spend a morning!