Posted on March 04 2017
There is a lot of confusion prevalent among fitness enthusiasts as to whether stretching is beneficial to a runner or not. Some say it will reduce your performance, others disagree.
If you must ask us, yes… stretching is an absolute must if you are planning to be a competitive Runner.
Before you run
Pre Run Stretching helps in loosening and relaxing the muscles to a great extent, thereby relieving them from the sudden shock they would have otherwise received when you start running abruptly. It is like an advanced wake up call for your muscles to be ready.
When you run, you create small tears and abrasion in between your muscles which cause a lot of internal stress and friction. It also leads to formation of toxins within your muscle fibres. Stretching helps in dissipating these effects evenly across a larger area and releases them into your excretory system, to be expelled by sweat or urine.
Light jogging is also a part of preparatory stretching. It will get your heart rate elevated and blood pumping to your legs.
Exercises to try out
Leg Swings are effective prior to starting a run. Hold anything with your hand for support. Now swing your leg back and forth as much forward and backward as possible like a pendulum. Repeat 10 times for each side.
Squats also help loosen your muscles. Stand with both feet apart. Gently ease into a seated position till your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold for a second and stand up. Repeat 10 times.
Lunges are great after a long run. Stand with one leg forward than the other. Now gently ease into the forward foot till your forward thigh is parallel to the ground. Resume vertical position and then repeat.
Ideally all pre-run stretching should be done not less than 15 to 20 minutes prior to the run. Do not overstretch as it will lead to unnecessary fatigue. Complete all post run stretches by 30 minutes after finishing your run.
Always remember, a runner never gives up. Give it your best and we are sure you will finish!
Best of luck for your run at the Urban Stampede, this year!