Stretching Part Two - Pre Run Stretching

by: John Bevier

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Stretching Part 2 - Pre Run

Stretching header image

Muscles work best when they are warmed up. Stretching increases mobility in the joints and muscles. In turn, the runner is at less risk for an injury when putting those muscles to work.

If you watch runners as they warm-up prior to running, you'll see a variety of stretching routines, and some may not stretch at all. Longevity is important, so I'll recommend that you establish a stretching routine for pre run, and post run, every time you run.

Before stretching, you may find it helpful to walk for a short distance; anywhere from a quarter mile to a half mile should be sufficient. The walk will increase your blood circulation, and will warm-up the muscles and connective tissues before you begin stretching.

Generally speaking each stretch should give you the sensation of extension, without pain of any kind while holding the stretch in a static position for 30 seconds. With this process, your soft tissue will be obliged to relax, and extend without pain.

It is always best to stretch without having a lunging or bouncy motion. The surge of a lunge, or bounce, tells the muscle that it must contract and shorten, to protect itself from damage. This causes the muscle to be susceptible to injury.

(The following refer to the stretching diagrams below)

Running requires a strong push off the ground and can cause muscles and tendons to be stressed. One area that is particularly vulnerable is the achilles tendon, and calf muscles. For this area, I recommend stretches (5,6,7,8,12) Hold each of these stretches in a static position for 30 seconds.

Your hamstring and glute muscles are also important areas to prepare. I recommend stretches (7,8,9,10)

Your back is an area where we see frequent injuries. I recommend the following stretches for your back. (1,2,3,4).

Here are the diagrams to aid with your stretching routine.

Stretching Diagrams