Stretching Before Running
July 27, 2004 6:09 AM   Subscribe

In response to this question about running I found a lot of good motivation for myself to start this up and I did last night for the first time. As a follow-up of sorts, anyone know of any good stretching routines to go through both before and after doing exercise? Particularly one that will help prevent my legs from tightening up quickly?
posted by thebwit to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
bob glover's competitive runners handbook has loads of advice for running, including stretching.

i've lent my copy to someone, but two stretches i use for the legs are to pull one foot up behind me until the heel touches my backside (while standing on the other leg), which stretches the muscles on the front of the thigh, running down to the kneecap, and to stand on the edge of a step or kerb, on the balls of my feet, lowering and then raising my heels (ten seconds in each position, repeat a couple of times), to stretch calf muscles (the latter isn't in that book, iirc, but was suggested by some doctor i saw when i had an injury).

those are the two i do regularly just because those are the muscles that seem to need stretching for me.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:32 AM on July 27, 2004

Because of that thread I started running (well, not really fast enough yet to be considered running so I guess I'm jogging) today too. Been thinking about it a while. I woke up at 5 AM and went to a local school track. I liked it.

I've been told by several trainers and umpteen friends to never ever stretch your muscles until they're warm, because cold stretching causes tears and snaps. The advice I always get is to warm up first (for me today that meant a brisk walk around the track once), and stretch afterwards, and then to stretch again after your run. So that's what I did. Good luck.
posted by iconomy at 7:13 AM on July 27, 2004

In training for the upcoming Philly marathon, a couple of months back I got a case of ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome). Basically, the band that runs from my hip down to my knee wasn't stretching properly, and the tendrous-knee bit was PAINFUL, knocked me out for weeks. So, I was prescribed stretches that target this muscle, which any google search can describe better than I can.

This pre-run stretch is the most important to me preventatively. Otherwise, for pre-run, start with a slow 5 minute job to stretch the muscles, then run normally. There is a growing debate over whether stretching actually prevents injury, which I won't get into. But seriously, if your legs cramp too quickly, start slowly, let your run tell you how fast to go.

Or of course, just listen to iconomy.
posted by remlapm at 7:20 AM on July 27, 2004

I've heard this from multiple places recently -- I don't know what the source is, but it works for me:

Hold every stretch for 30 seconds (which will never have seemed so long). 30 seconds gives the muscle enough time to actually stretch and settle into the stretched state.
posted by o2b at 7:27 AM on July 27, 2004

What's a good stretch to prevent shin splints? That's my major deterrent to running. Thanks!
posted by msacheson at 9:06 AM on July 27, 2004

And as you hold the stretch, breathe deeply, which helps the muscle relax into the stretch.

Having been a runner etc for decades tho, I'm of the school that thinks that stretching is useful as a warm up for serious athletes pushing themselves to the limit.

Someone just starting out, like yourself will do just fine by not pushing it anywhere approaching the extremes of your ability, and your muscles will warm up in response to what should be a gradual increase in exertion (which is evolutionarilly why they know to warm up, afterall), without the above mentioned risk of overstretching to the point of tears etc.
posted by Fupped Duck at 9:10 AM on July 27, 2004

msacheson click here
posted by remlapm at 9:28 AM on July 27, 2004

Thanks, remlapm.
posted by msacheson at 4:01 PM on July 27, 2004

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