Depending on which physical/sports therapist you ask, you should stretch before a run, after, both, or not at all. Helpful, right?
The potential problem which stretching before a run (or indeed any sport) is that if you try to stretch too-cold muscles, you could end up injuring yourself. So, you can safely (static) stretch before a run if you’d like, but only if you’ve already properly warmed up your muscles (with a brisk walk, gentle jog, some ballistic/dynamic stretches* — and that’s less a “pick one” list than it is a progression of moves you should preferably go through). And the thing is that if you’ve already warmed up that thoroughly, there appears to be little added benefit to doing static stretches as well.
And stretching after running has its own kind of pitfalls — at this point, your muscles may be so warmed-up and loose that you can actually end up overstretching them by accident and injuring yourself. Plus, again, if you’ve already had a proper cooldown section** at the end of your run to help your body break down the lactic acid that has built up, post-workout stretching appears to have rather limited added effect in preventing soreness.
*You ever see runners do all those weird little up and down or sideways hops, leg swings, etc? Well, that.
**As in, a full ten minutes, minimum. Yeah, I know, who actually does that?
So, before? After? Both? Neither? As long as you’re careful, it’s ultimately really up to you what feels best. As for me personally — well, first off, I’m not gonna lie, there’ve been plenty of runs (especially shorter jogs) where I just broke into my running pace approximately 100 yards from my front door, and actually pulled a little final sprint back to said door half an hour later, no cooldown or stretching. But my personal favourite routine, if I’m trying to do this shit “right” when going on a long run, is warming up with a brisk walk for a minute or two, then a light jog for another five minutes or so, and then finally some dynamic stretching for another few minutes before setting out. Then when I reach the end of my run, gradually slowing down into a brisk walk over the course of a minute or two, then further into a regular, gentler walking pace over the next few, and then walking for several more minutes before doing some gentle static stretches.
See also this article, which includes video examples of a bunch of dynamic stretches.
"Don’t pressure yourself. Don’t worry about what others think you should do or what the societal “norm” is. Do what moves you and makes you smile and the “good” will follow."
For when you’re overtrained
Sure, overtraining is a physical condition, but it can also be mental. It can happen when your head ODs on running. Suppose, for instance, you become so fixated on a race goal that when you’re not running you’re stretching, icing, foam rolling, blending recovery smoothies, charting your mileage, Tweeting about your runs, and plotting out new routes. “The mind needs downtime from running, just like the body does,” says Chris Janzen, a mental conditioning coach and founder of TriathleteMind.com. “It’s hard to sustain that level of motivation for long. When your life revolves around running, you risk burnout.”
Experts typically prescribe overtrained athletes R&R. Step back and impose a running (and charting and social-networking) sabbatical for a few days. When you resume training, try to keep perspective and remind yourself that running is just one element of your life, Brown says. Do a workout at least once a week that you don’t time or track (go for a fun run or cross-train), and keep up with other interests. Post social-media updates that don’t detail your workouts, and hang out with friends who don’t know how long a marathon is and have zero interest in your splits. You’ll be a better runner for it, Janzen says. “You’ll feel refreshed and will have more mental energy to put into your actual running.”
it’s not much, but it’s more than ever and that counts :3
*noms a banana because she totes earned it*
Congrats!! This is a really great run :)
@mishacollins I read that fluid intake is the most important thing with endurance sports so if anyone wants to bring me beer on my run…
Umm, to be completely honest, not very, at the moment. I’m personally not running at all right now since I’m already so physically active for my job (walking 10 to 15 miles a day, 4-5 days a week makes it kind of hard to find the motivation to be all “okay, let’s go for a jog now!” on the weekends :P) and I have no idea what Victoria is up to these days.
That being said, you can still tag any posts you make about your endeavours with the #joggingformisha tag — I still track that and I suspect others from this little community might as well — and we can offer support and cheerleading from the sidelines! ;) Happy running and the best of luck :D
edit: (from Victoria, to everyone) I’m so sorry that I have completely failed at this blog during the school year, uni was a big transition for me and I have not managed my time well enough. My summer starts late April and wow do I ever need to get back in shape so this blog will definitely be more active come May. Again my apologies!
I HEREBY PLEDGE TO RUN 10K THE WEEKEND BEFORE THE SUPERNATURAL FINALE
and I will do it in no more than 1h 30min, which is a challenge for me. Last year I ran 10K in 1h 46min for Misha’s birthday. I kept up the running/exercise into the fall but slacked off after Yule. Decided I had to get myself in gear again, and nothing inspires me like Misha, so
THIS IS IT. SPN FINALE: 10K. FASTER THAN EVER.
Ooh, that sounds like a great goal you’ve set yourself here! Lots of luck completing that 10K, I know you can do it! :D