Friday, April 16, 2010

To stretch or not to stretch?

I get asked a lot what I do to stretch before and after runs.

There has been much written on the pros/cons of stretching before and after exercise. 

The pro side of the house says that stretching warms up muscles gradually before the heavy loads are applied to the muscle groups.  Others say it lengthens your stride and improves your form/posture when you run.  Others claim it allows you to get up to speed faster.  Looking at the amount of stretching that occurs before a marathon or half marathon and you would think that people assume just because they read it somewhere, that it must be true.  There is a very good article on stretching at a place called the Sports Injury Bulletin...(Click here for article on stretching).

I weigh down on the con side.  Not because I am lazy or anything like that!  I have just come to the opinion that starting a run on the slow side seems to help me get ready and loose before I kick in the extra effort.  For me, this is better than stretching.  When I have attempted to stretch, I have pulled muscles by stretching too agressively before running.   One other thing I have noticed is that if I stretch out well, my running times are slower.  Who wants that? 

I guess my advice to you is to stretch if you like, but it is possible to rip off a great run without a stretch at race last weekend proved that to me!

I am going to get out early tomorrow morning and do a 50 miler.  The weather is going to be great for it.  I am resting today in prep.

I am looking forward to getting on the road in about 11 months!


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