Although I look calm in this photo, I believe the gentleman next to me more accurately describes my feelings on stretching pre and post run. I’m very capable of stretching. I just don’t enjoy fitting it into my training schedule.
It’s hard enough to find time in the day to run, but making time stretch on top of that seems unrealistic. If I’m trying to run during my hour in between class and work I can barely manage to change, run, and shower before I’m late. How am I suppose to slow down long enough to do a some runner’s lunges and hip flexor stretches when I just worked a miracle by finding a big enough time block to get my run in?
You just do it. Even though I’m always on a time crunch, I never skip the pre-run and post-run stretch (I learned that lesson the hard way). If that means I have to cut my run short to stretch, then that is what I do. It’s IMPERATIVE. Last night, I had to wait until pretty late in the evening (… by late I mean 9pm. I’m a grandma who likes her sleep), and even with looming responsibilities that would generally make one throw on her running shoes, do 3 miles as fast as possible, and go back to being productive I still took the extra ten minutes to cool down and stretch out my legs.
Running is a great way to stay in shape, build endurance, and relieve stress. Running is also a GREAT way to get hurt. If you type into Google “Running Injuries” you get about 129,000,000 results and each link leads to a nice long list. Some popular ones include runner’s knee, shin splints, IT band syndrome, hamstring tightness, stress fractures… and it goes on. I am by no means implying that stretching is going to protect you from running injury but, by not stretching you are asking to be one of those runners who “was suppose to run __________________ ” (<- insert whatever race you wanted to run before you got hurt because you didn’t take the ten minutes necessary to stretch after your run) and is instead at home foam rolling your IT band.
I speak from experience. I made the mistake of brushing off stretching repeatedly during my last half marathon training. As mention in my About Me I’ve been injured since the start of 2013 on and off (I completed my half marathon in December 2012… hence the injury early 2013). One of those injuries had me in physical therapy for three months. My physical therapist was constantly reminding me how important it was to stretch, and how many runners she sees because they don’t dedicate enough time to warming up/cooling down. I spent countless painful hours stretching and foam rolling trying to loosen up my leg muscles in order to re align everything that was ruined due to long distance running without adequate stretching (and a little bit of genetics).
I think stretching is annoying just like everyone else. And yes I would rather run, jump in the shower, and move on with my day. But I still spend time everyday stretching and foam rolling to prevent injury. It’s a something I’m focusing on during this half marathon training, and am still trying to learn to love it. Any questions or comments, please feel free 🙂
You can always search different stretches, but here are some to get you started:
What is this foam rolling you speak of? Read this article here:
Buy a foam roller here: