Is stretching before a run bad for you?
Let’s face it, most runners will welcome any excuse to avoid a 5-10 minute warm-up before a run. We just want to run!
So when research from New South Wales, Australia first suggested over 10 years ago that static stretching (long-hold stretching) did not reduce injury, traditional warm up routines before running were soon ditched in favor of just jogging the first five minutes.
The case against static stretching before a run was further weakened by recent research that suggests it reduces the natural leg stiffness that is required for running efficiency. As the foot makes contact with the ground, this stiffness is said to absorb energy and use it to spring forwards.
Researchers at Florida State University in 2010 showed that trained distance runners became about 5% less efficient and covered 3% less distance in a time trial if they did static stretching before the run. However, and this is the crunch, all of the above concerns static stretching, i.e. long-hold stretching (like touching your toes for 40 seconds). It is important to differentiate this from dynamic stretching, which involves controlled, repetitive sports-specific movements that mimic the way your muscles and connective tissues will need to stretch during your chosen activity, e.g. swinging your leg forwards 15 times.
A follow up study by Florida State University stated that there is no evidence that dynamic stretching before a run inhibits performance.
Dynamic stretching as a warm-up
Let’s look at an example: one of the major components of an efficient running stride is having enough range of movement in the hip flexor to allow your leg to travel back behind you before your toe leaves the ground. A dynamic stretch that mimics this hip extension, e.g. a lunge, will reduce internal resistance whilst running and improve the efficiency of your stride.
Given that many of us have tight hip flexors due to sitting down all day, a controlled dynamic stretch that progressively increases range of movement in the hip before we start running can help us run more efficiently with better form.
Although there is no evidence that one particular “running style” will reduce injury rate (no one-size-fits-all remedy), certain biomechanical inefficiencies associated with poor running form can be linked to reoccurring injury (more on that next week).
Preparation for efficient running form cannot be achieved by simply preceding your run with a five minute jog.
In being active and challenging, dynamic stretching will also promote the other well documented physical and mental benefits associated with a warm up.
What dynamic stretching should I do?
Which and how much dynamic stretching you do in your warm up will depend on your fitness level and the type of running you plan to do.
You will find many examples online but as always we suggest you consult a professional before embarking on a new exercise routine. The main message I want you to get from this article is that you do something!
Where do we go from here?
Like I say, there are plenty of sources for dynamic stretching on the internet and for those on my MNRED Running Team
The issue is ensuring you avoid the massive temptation to mess it up before you head out to run. You will come up with every excuse under the sun: “It’s too cold,” “I don’t have time,” “I’ll do extra tomorrow to make up for it.” It’s just five minutes people! Believe me, it will create focus, readiness, and mark the beginning of fewer injuries & improved running performance.
Take care, and I’ll…
See you on the roads
It's Finally Here....The Mile To Marathon Apparel Store!
Our Mile to Marathon online store is now open! Custom decorated items, great pricing and fast delivery. The store is open 24/7 and accessible from anywhere you get internet access.
The convenient online payment processing is highly secure, allowing Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover payment and feature a wide selection of our custom decorated apparel at great prices. Items can be personalized and come in a variety of colors and sizes. There’s something for everyone in our new online store.
Check it out now by visiting:
Want to know how to get your hands on some of the best products around to help keep you feeling your best, day in and day out? You know....that 1 product every runner has a love hate relationship with? Yes, I'm talking about the coveted FOAM ROLLER! Now, you have access to all of the products available from Perform Better Sports on our Resources Page. 5-10 minutes on the foam roller is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It's like giving yourself a deep tissue massage just by using your own body weight. Buy one now and find out what that love hate relationship is really like. Your body will actually thank you!
I hope you're hungry! Great burgers, and food in general along with an incredible beer and wine selection are in store for you! What a perfect way to reward your hard efforts after a workout or race then to head over to Red Cow, show them your new Mile To Marathon DISCOUNT CARD and sit back and enjoy! We are so excited to have Red Cow be a sponsor.
Now, go follow them on Facebook (Red Cow) and Twitter (@redcowmn)
Mile To Marathon athletes will be pleased to know they will be well taken care of, not only with the help of Dr. Steven Moe of Accelerated Performance Clinic in Eden Prairie, MN but also with generous discounted pricing! I have worked with and have sent numerous athletes to Dr. Moe for several years and have had tremendous results working with him. Dr. Moe has worked with Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins, Dick Beardsley - record holder of Grandmas Marathon, Craig Waryan - PGA Master Professional along with countless other athletes.
Have a pain in your ankle? There's a good chance it's not actually your ankle that is causing that pain. Applied Kinesiology gets to the root of the issue. Call to make an appointment today!
Accelerated Performance Clinic6805 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie, MNPHONE NUMBER: (952) 833-3038
After you see him and you go run your next big race and you feel the best you ever have, you may just want to bring him a new race poster for his office walls!
Mile To Marathon is SO excited to announce it's partnership with Skratch Labs! Straight from their mouths (website), Skratch Labs mission is to use real world science and practice to create the very best nutrition products. Products that taste great, that are made from real all-natural ingredients, and that are designed to optimize performance and health for both sport and life. Check out my favorite video from them about their products!
Mile To Marathon athletes will be able to take advantage of team orders 2x per year giving you the opportunity to purchase hydration mixes, bottles, storage containers, t-shirts and even The Feed Zone Cookbook at a significantly reduced price! First team order will take pace in June so stay tuned!
If you're not familiar with their products you will have the opportunity to become familiar with them at some of our upcoming long runs. I will set up water stops with their product, varying flavors from week to week so you can try them out. Start to follow them on twitter @SkratchLabs and on Facebook, you won't be disappointed.
Time to start hydrating with REAL ingredients!
Tempo Runs (T)
Description: Tempo runs help improve running economy. These runs will consist of hard, but controlled intervals with short recovery periods. For example, one workout may look like this: Warm up 1 mile, and then build into a run of up to one hour at 5k to 10 mile pace depending on the race you are training for. Cool down 1 mile. This pace should be “comfortably uncomfortable.”
Benefits: -Enhance lactate threshold
-Increase your speed over longer distances.
-Train heart muscles near anaerobic threshold.
-Changing speed changes stride, which will help break their usual stride.
Tempo Pacing: Why running faster during a tempo run is detrimental
When you push too far beyond your lactate threshold pace, you prevent your body from learning how to effectively clear lactate. Instead of becoming more efficient by handling a moderate and consistent amount of lactate, your body is flooded. It isn’t able to benefit from a prolonged period of lactate clearance. By speeding up, you don’t achieve the benefits of the workout and actually walk away from your tempo run less fit than you would have by staying on the prescribed pace.
...See you on the roads
Want to get stronger, faster and more efficient...hit the hills!
Description: Hill training is important to a runner. It is a form of strength training while on the run. Short hills (50-100 meters long) tend to be steeper and long hills (200+ meters) more gradual. Hill workouts can be done on the roads, on grass or on trails.
Benefits: -Strengthen quadriceps and other large muscle groups.
-Raise the fatigue threshold.
-Improve anaerobic fitness.
-Build mental toughness and confidence.
-Strengthen the back, abdominal and leg muscles.
See you on the roads
Lifelong runner. Professional and passionate coach helping to make running goals a reality for 30+ years. Let's get started making your running dreams come true!