Running Tips: Stretching, Yoga & Flexibility

I am definitely not the most stretchy or flexible person, but occasionally I try!!!

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    • Usually static stretches are perfected in form before moving on to dynamic stretches. As you watch and follow the linked videos the instructors have good form, so you should do your best to emulate the form. Static stretches are normally held for 30 seconds, the videos don’t mention this. Dynamic stretches should endure for 20 to 30 seconds.
    • Controversy exists whether to stretch before running. It has been proven that stretching muscles prior to exercise weakens those same muscles. So, who wants to run with weakened muscles? Not I. It is beneficial, and necessary, to warm-up the muscles prior to activity to avoid pulls or tears though. The runner’s warm-up consists of a short distance light jog of ¼ to ½ mile or 3 to 5 minutes before you cut loose and run at normal pace. That will get the blood flowing throughout your entire system and loosen all your joints prior to putting extra stress on them.
    • No controversy exists regarding stretching after running – it’s definitely advantageous. Running inherently creates tight muscles throughout our entire body, not just the legs, and post run stretches will ease out adhesions and metabolic waste that clogs and glues muscle fibers together. The sooner you create muscle releases through stretching and/or massage after your run, the less likely you’ll have muscle soreness the next day or two.

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  • Yoga is calming and stretches muscles whilst increasing joint range of motion. It should be used as part of your runner’s maintenance program or post run activity.
  • Massage can be incorporated for post race and regular maintenance of soft tissues.

Videos

3 minute Pre-Run Dynamic Warm-Up Stretches

10 minute Post Run Static and Dynamic Stretches

3 minute version of yoga stretches for runners

9 minute version of yoga for runners

25 minute version of yoga for runners

End Note.

In 2001 I entered a 4 mile hilly trail race in a local State Park. It was a leisurely 10am start and I arrived only 10 minutes before. I had to pay and collect a race number, then walk to the start and jostle with other competitors. The start gun fired and we were off. Uncharacteristically I found myself just behind the race leaders about ¼ mile into the race and thought it odd as I’m not usually that fit or fast enough to be up with them. We were running up an incline at the time which only made it seem more unlikely that I should be so close to the leading pack. Then it happened!!! My right Achilles tendon pulled at about the ½ mile mark. I stupidly continued and completed the 4 mile circuit, admittedly at a much reduced and hobbling pace. After drinking some water back at my car just a few minutes after finishing the race I was completely unable to walk because my Achilles tendon had now had a chance to go into protective mode. It was laying down protective adhesions and swelling. I iced it as soon as I got home, but the damage was done. It would be nine months before I could run comfortably again!!!

For more running stories see my ebook: How To Run For Your Life Pain Free With No Compensations.

  • Moral. I did not warm-up my muscles or joints immediately prior to heavily stressing them and I paid the price. Please learn from my mistake.