Thursday, 1 May 2014

Running 101 - Stretching

I thought today would be a good time to talk about stretching.  In the injury prevention post I suggested this topic was entitled to its very own post so here we go!

Last week I attended an injury prevention seminar by The Running Clinic.  They covered a lot of really interesting info, but the part that struck a chord with me was their take on stretching.

Here is an overview:

  • Stretching before running has a negative effect on running performance (especially if held over 60 seconds)
  • Stretching before a run does not decrease the risk of injury.
  • Stretching does not prevent DOMS.
  • Stretching does not improve post workout recovery
If you are wondering right now why you have been stretching and whether you should even bother the answer is YES.

This is why:  Stretching normalizes the muscle stiffness that is unique to you. We all have different imbalances and aches and stiffness will show up very differently in each person. Just last night I talked to people who experiences upper back soreness, calf pain, and hip pain after doing the same run.

Some guidelines on stretching:.
  • Always stretch AFTER your run (not before).
  • Here are some examples of stretches from The Running Clinic.
  • Do not stretch if you are hyper flexible (I think I mentioned I have hyper mobile hip joints)
  • Stretch your proximal (closest to body) and not distal (furthest from body) muscles. Think quads and hamstrings and not your calves.
This really is just a sampling of all the info out there on stretching.  As I said before, if you have a tried and true stretching method that works for you, stick with it! If you are noticing that stretching has very little positive outcomes, you might want to consider the guidelines above. 

Lastly I want to share something very interesting with you! If you suffer from tight IT bands and gluteal muscles (including the dreaded piriformis) you have probably tried out the yoga pidgin pose stretch at some point.  I certainly have! This article has some great info on why this probably isn't the best stretch for you.  Here is what they suggest is the BEST IT band stretch you could do:


You can thank me later for sharing this little gem :)

So tell me... do you stretch??





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