Exercise of the Month
An inside look on marathon training with Brooks Rehab
By Roxie Lute
To stretch or not to stretch? That is the question.
Scientific research now suggests that stretching before you run doesn’t necessarily improve performance or prevent injury. In fact, stretching might even reduce your strength as much as 30 percent. Studies also show that stretching prior to activity can decrease your acceleration potential and reduces your power production for squatting and jumping.
So what should you do before you run?
- Perform a brisk 3 – 5 minute walk to increase circulation to your working muscles.
- Follow this with a run at 2 – 3 minutes slower than your regular pace for ¾ to 1 mile.
- Then begin your planned run
- Cool down with five minutes of a light jog
- Then talk a walk for five minutes to return your body to its resting state.
- Stretching after a run is a great way to maintain flexibility and range of motion.
Static stretches should be held for 30 seconds and repeated three to four times. Move into each stretch slowly and in a controlled manner. Target major muscles groups like your hamstring, quadriceps and hip flexors. Here are some recommended stretches to do after your run:
Lean against a solid surface with one foot in front of the other, both feet facing straight forward. Bend your front knee while keeping your back knee straight and your heel on the ground until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf.
Modify this stretch by bending your back leg also; this will target a slightly different calf muscle.
Sit on the ground with one leg straight in front of you. Lean forward from the hips, trying to keep your back straight until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
Lie face up on the floor with you left leg extended and your right leg bent. Clasp your hands around your right knee and gently pull your right knee towards your left shoulder until you feel a stretch in your right buttocks.
Quadriceps and Hip Flexor Stretch
Assume a ½ kneeling position. Grab around the ankle of your back leg so that you can bend your knee. Learn your hips forward to increase the stretch in the front of your hips while bending your back knee to increase the stretch in your quad.
Fact: You should train within 1 to 2 miles of the final race total but some recommend going up the final mileage.
Fact: You should not increase your mileage more than 10 percent each week.