Running and the Importance of Stretching
Written by Nuno Costa

It seems as if most runners/endurance athletes have no problem going out and running for long distances yet if you ask them if they stretch regularly, the common answer is no. Generally, most people don’t stretch for a few different reasons: they may not see the benefit of it, they may not know how to do it or they think that if they were to do it, they would probably be doing it wrong.

You may not realize this, but runners have some of the highest injury rates among sports. There is evidence that shows that injury rates vary from 19% to even upwards of 92% per year, with an average of about 50% of runners reporting an injury. This should be somewhat alarming. Imagine if 50% of the people that came to your gym were getting hurt, it would probably go out of business. (1)

Stretch to Improve as an Athlete

Stretching is not guaranteed to avoid injuries altogether but it can certainly help to prevent them in many cases. A regular stretching routine can help reduce the risk of injury, help with muscle soreness, help avoid muscle cramping and improve overall athletic performance. I know personally that as I’ve gotten older I’ve made it a point to make stretching a big part of my training which has allowed me to continue to improve as an athlete.

Regular stretching has allowed me to get into better positions in my training, whether it’s with CrossFit or running. It doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, you have to make a habit of it, just like you’ve done with training. What works best for me is to stretch first thing in the morning as I know the rest of my day, including my training, will go better since I always feel the difference when I don’t stretch (I will generally be stiffer and less mobile).

How Do You Make Stretching a Habit?

Well you need to put time aside, schedule it and make it a priority in your training. Include it in your everyday life and your body will thank you. Set aside 10 minutes before or after your training session and tackle 3-4 stretches. If you can, stretch before and after exercising to improve your muscle flexibility. Make sure you start with stretches that are easy for your body, gradually progressing to more challenging ones, and include variance in your routine. Stretching is not meant to be painful or cause discomfort, if this is happening then you may be overdoing it. This should be a no-compromise habit. Be patient and be consistent to see benefits.

Videos for Getting Started with Your Routine

Static Stretching

DROM for Warm-Up

General Warm-Up for Running

Also, if you haven’t checked out our online endurance program, be sure to do so as soon as possible. Give it a try for a few months and watch your running/aerobic capacity improve! You can register for it here:

Also Check Out …

Invictus Endurance Program: What to Expect

Shin Splints: Causes and Cures

Essential Concepts of Efficient Running

Citation(s):

(1) The Analysis of Injury Rates in Running

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