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To stretch or not to stretch

August 22, 2011

I’ve been running into work once or twice a week for a few weeks now. Typically, running in means that I need to get up promptly, pack my lunch into my Camelbak, have some breakfast, stretch and get into work in good time to queue for the showers.

So, on a Friday when I had planned to double up my commuter run but hadn’t been feeling particularly sprightly I was set to be late to leave the house. Skipping the stretching was the only way to get back on schedule, so I set off down the road at a comfortable pace.

Normally, after my breakfast-then-stretch routine, the first mile feels fairly hard-going because my legs are feeling heavy. However, without stretching, I was having none of this morning lethargy and once I’d got to the summit of Stamford Hill the only thing slowing me was traffic lights and buses disgorging hordes of passengers on the pavement. In fact, I knocked a good two minutes off my previous best to-work time.

Stretching tends to be something that divides opinion – some swear off it while I’ve tended to think of it as a necessary start to each run. And flexibility plays an important part in running; a good range of motion increases running efficiency which in turn helps increase your speed.

All of which raises the question: should stretching be a separate component of your training programme (for example, a yoga session) rather than the topping and/or tailing of each run?

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 22, 2011 10:46 pm

    Personally, I do think that stretching is an important part of the running programme, at least that has been my personal experience. I just wrote an article on the topic as well, here is the link:
    Keep having fun!

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