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2179 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Jun 9, 2011 5:04 AM by StickingToIt
StickingToIt Expert 43 posts since
Jun 2, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 7, 2011 1:15 PM

Stretching...before? after? both?

I am sure this is a silly question, but I seem to be finding a wide variety of information online about stretching. Does anyone know if when you are supposed to stretch and for how long? Where can I find some simple stretches to help prevent things like shin splints and tight hamstrings? Thanks!





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  • GeoWolf Pro 100 posts since
    Jul 28, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 7, 2011 1:52 PM (in response to StickingToIt)
    Re: Stretching...before? after? both?

    I get leg cramps so I've done some searching.  Pretty much everything I've read says before is a must.  (Because of the cramps sometimes I've had to stop and stretch during too.)  I know a lot of people stretch after but because of the cramps I never have I always had to get to heat right away and it's only the last 2 runs that I haven't.  I would do a compression on the cramped muscle because stretching was impossible and that was the only suggestion I found that seemed to help.  It seems like stretching after might be a good thing if you didn't have pain to deal with, so my feeling would be both.  But I hope some of the experts weigh in for you.





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  • Surfing_Vol Legend 848 posts since
    Nov 6, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jun 7, 2011 4:08 PM (in response to StickingToIt)
    Re: Stretching...before? after? both?

    This issue arises from time-to-time.

     

    First, "dynamic stretching," not static stretching, is recommended BEFORE exercise.  There are some really good bloggers out there who have links to and who have analyzed original research.  Here are a couple of links that will help you understand the issue and the difference between dynamic and static stretching:

     

    http://sweatscience.com/?s=stretching

     

    http://strengthrunning.com/2010/05/elite-core-and-dynamic-warm-ups-a-comprehensive-guide/

     

    Fitz, on strengthrunning.com, has great exercises to help you strengthen and improve your running.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Surfing Vol





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  • Katie21784 Pro 128 posts since
    Apr 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 8, 2011 6:53 AM (in response to StickingToIt)
    Re: Stretching...before? after? both?

    I definitely recommend stretching before AND after!  I know on the days that I am lazy or forget to stretch afterwards, I can tell later on that day or the next day how much tighter I am.  Of course stretching before helps to loosen up the muscles which will help prevent injuries during your run.  Generally the stretches that I do are:

     

    1) Hamstring - Prop my leg up on the back of my car and lean forward until a good stretch is felt.  Repeat on both legs.  (You can also leave feet on the ground and bend over to touch your toes, but I prefer propping it up on my car so that I can stretch one leg at a time as generally one of my legs is tighter than the other)

     

    2) Quad - Pull foot up to buttocks until you feel a stretch.  Repeat on both legs.

     

    3) Calf - Put one leg behind you keeping it straight and the heel on the ground.  Keep the other leg just in front of you with your knee slightly bent.  Place hands on a wall/car/tree/etc. and lean into your hands until you feel a good stretch.  Repeat on both legs.  (You can also find a curb or some other raise surface like a step and put your toes on it and drop your heel down to stretch the calf)





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  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jun 8, 2011 10:40 AM (in response to StickingToIt)
    Re: Stretching...before? after? both?

    Believe me, its not a silly question at all because even among runners and experts you will get different answers.

     

    Rather than quote what some experts say vs what others say, I'll just tell you that for me personally, I don't stretch before or after a run.  (I do some stretching during my strength and resistances workouts, though.)  One article I read recently said that if you are already stretching and stop doing it - you can cause injury.  But if you never stretch and then start doing it - you can cause injury.  Even so, I used to stretch faithfully before and after running when I first started years ago because I thought I was "supposed" to.  After a while I did it less and less and eventually stopped altogether.  I never suffered any injury from not stretching so I never saw any reason to start back.  So how is that for a definitive answer?

     

    The best thing you can do is google the subject and read some of the articles for yourself.  If you find yourself confused by conflicting information, then figure out what feels right and works well for you.





  • Surfing_Vol Legend 848 posts since
    Nov 6, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jun 8, 2011 1:12 PM (in response to Marykb)
    Re: Stretching...before? after? both?

    Marykb wrote:

     

    . . . One article I read recently said that if you are already stretching and stop doing it - you can cause injury.  But if you never stretch and then start doing it - you can cause injury. 

     

    . . .

     

     

    The best thing you can do is google the subject and read some of the articles for yourself.  If you find yourself confused by conflicting information, then figure out what feels right and works well for you.

     

    I've read the study but had forgotten it.

     

    Like Marykb said, experiment and go with what works for you.

     

    Good luck!

     

    Surfing Vol





    Presentation1.jpg

    Surfing Vol

    "Victory through attrition!"

    Charleston Half-Marathon 1/15/2011 -- 1:52:03

    The Scream! Half-Marathon 7/16/2011 -- 1:56:00

  • Biggest_T Amateur 31 posts since
    Mar 11, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jun 8, 2011 2:23 PM (in response to StickingToIt)
    Re: Stretching...before? after? both?

    I agree with MaryKb.  It really depends on which article you read - it changes.  For me personally, I do not stretch before, but do a cool-down walk and stretch after, especially my calf and shin areas.  Seems like those are the areas that are the most angry about my choice to get off the couch! .  I also used to do a 5 minute walk-warm up pre-run, but I don't do that anymore.

     

    Here is a good shin exercise video I still use throughout the day:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E26G1aGbg7s

     

    I also use these throughout the day for shin splint prevention: http://bcove.me/3hgo1b1j

     

    Here's another for calf and ankle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv6ycmOWnq0

     

    Runnersworld.com has a lot of other helpful videos as well.

     

    You might have already answered this, but....Question about your shin splint issues:  Have you gone to you local running store and had your stride checked?  I thought I was a neutral runner when I was actually an over-pronater.  Also, I didn't know my shoes should be about a thumb's width from your tow to the tip of the shoe (or 1 to 1.5 sizes bigger than your usual size).


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  • flamomof3 Legend 1,927 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jun 9, 2011 4:53 AM (in response to GeoWolf)
    Re: Stretching...before? after? both?

    I don't stretch before I run, I typically get a good warm up  and do stretch after. Good Luck

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