Bye muscle stress, Hi stretch! Why you Should Stretch Before and After Running

Why should I stretch before and after running?

It is the final countdown for the London Marathon 2024 and stretching is an essential part of running (before and after). Why? Because when you do any type of exercise your muscles work and it can shorten them, decreasing your mobility over time, but don´t worry,  stretching is here to the rescue!

What are the benefits of stretching before and after running ?

There are many reasons why you should stretch before and after the Marathon (run or any type of workout). One of the most important is the fact that stretching  keeps your muscles flexible. As a result, they will keep and even gain their fullest range of motion.

Benefits before running

Before running, it is key to stretch because it helps you prepare your muscles for the increased activity they are about to undertake. Other benefits are:

  • pre-stretched muscles can handle and resist stress better, 
  •  reduce the risk of injury,
  • improves flexibility,
  • helps posture improvement,
  • strengths and aligns muscles in the upper body,
  • increases blood supply to your muscles, carrying nutrients throughout the entire body improving your performance.

Benefits after running

While you run. your muscles get full of lactic acid, which can cause stiffness and discomfort; that is why stretching is so important because it helps remove lactic acid from your muscles. Other benefits are:

  • allows the heart rate to gradually decrease and return to normal
  • help the muscles gradually return to their normal state
  • counteract soreness after exercise
  • releases tension from muscles
  • reduces stress
  • increases energy levels
  • improves recovery time

Are there different types of stretches?

Yes, there are two types:

  1. Dynamic stretching. It is when you perform gentle and repetitive sets of motions that gradually increase motion, circulation and muscle length. It is considered the best option before a run because it also helps you to warm up..
  2. Static stretching. It is when you move your joint or muscle as far as you can, after that, you  hold it there for some seconds. It is most helpful after running.

What else should I do before running?

Warming up! It is essential and when you do it properly, it…

  • allows your body to adapt to the activity ahead
  • heats up your body’s muscles
  • allows the muscles to stretch further
  • increase blood flow, which in turn will deliver more oxygen to the muscles
  • helps prepare your heart for the more vigorous activity to follow

As a bare minimum, the warm-up should include at least two or three minutes of faster-paced walking, some light jogging or striding and some dynamic stretches.

Enjoy the Marathon, enjoy life and run safely!

What are the recommended stretches for runners?

The most  recommended stretches include different types of movement that target different muscle groups which improve your  flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance overall performance. Let me describe 5 of the most used by professionals:

1.Standing Hip Controlled Articular Rotation (CAR)
  •  lifting one leg in front of you,
  •  moving it to the side, 
  • twisting the hip, 
  • and gently twisting it further back before bringing the foot down to the ground. 
  • Do it with both legs and repeat as needed.
2.Lunge with a Side Bend
  • Get into a lunge position with one of your knees on the ground, 
  • lift your torso up, 
  • put your fingertips to the ground, 
  • and bend over to the side,
  • Repeat with both sides.
3.Standing Quad (Hip Flexor Stretch)
  • Stand up straight and grab the top of your foot;
  • bring it towards your buttocks, hold this position for at least 20 seconds,
  • repeat with the other leg.
4.Lateral Squat Stretch
  •  Stand with your feet wider apart than your hips, 
  • shift your weight to one foot, bend that knee (feel the stretch)
  •  repeat on the other side.
5.Standing Dynamic Hamstring (Calf Stretch)
  •  Stand and place one leg in front of the other,
  • if it is more comfortable, place your hands on your hips, 
  • bend the back leg, and lean your torso forward,
  • hold on this position for at least 20s,
  • do it with both legs.

In short

It is key for your running routine to incorporate a combination of dynamic and static stretching into your routine. Remember that, to get best results, dynamic stretches are recommended before running and static stretches after running. We recommend stretching both sides of your body to maintain symmetry in the movement and strength of the body, which is key to avoiding both overuse and acute injuries. Hope it was useful and see you on Sunday!

If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. If you like this blog, please share!

We are always happy to help!

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