Loosey Goosey

Did you know that it isn’t a good idea to stretch before you run?  True story.  Stretching cold muscles can lead to muscle strains and tears.  That is exactly the last thing you want if you are a runner.  Or, really, anybody.  A lot of people are unaware that stretching un-warmed up muscles is dangerous, because we’ve always been told that stretching is a good thing.  Stretching is a good thing, as long as it is done properly and at the right time.  I warm up and stretch in a way that has been recommended to me time and time again… by serious runners, track coaches and physical therapists.  So, here’s my routine:
I walk for about 5 minutes before I run.  Some days, I just walk at a good clip.  Most days, though, I do a little series of warm up exercises while I walk… and I usually start these after I’ve walked for about 3 minutes.  I do about 20 steps each of the following:

  • High steps/knee ups/whatever you want to call them
  • Straight leg kicks to the front
  • Butt kicks
  • Walk on my tip toes
  • Walk on my heels
  • Skips… jumping as high as I can with each step

And then, I run.

After running is when I do my stretching.  I get myself a big glass of chocolate milk (with Hershey’s Special Dark Syrup, obvi) and do some yoga stretches.  There is a sequence that I found on FitSugar years ago.  Of course I can no longer find that video.  I don’t know enough about yoga to tell you the names of the poses… but I know there’s some downward dog, some warrior & some pigeon involved.  I also do some calf stretches and some quad stretches.  And then, I call it a day.

To sum it up: don’t stretch before running.  Walking for a few minutes is enough.  Stretch after.

The end.

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