Stretching Before A Run
When I was growing up, I was always told to make sure I stretch before a workout. Whether I was jetting off to a soccer game, cheerleading practice or a softball tournament, my coaches always made me stretch beforehand. Some made me spend a lot of time stretching (at least 15 minutes) while others just wanted me to spend one or two minutes on it to loosen up my limbs.
These days I’m told not to stretch at all. Quite the 180, huh? Studies now show that stretching beforehand can actually hinder your performance, and a warm-up is a better idea. So which is it?
Personally, it depends on what type of activity I’m doing. When it comes to sports, I almost never stretch before. If I have some spare time I’ll give a quick pull on my quads, but I’m more focused on a light warm-up. But when I go for a run, I always stretch. Only for a few minutes, but I give special attention to my quads, calves and hamstrings. I’ve tried running twice without any stretching and couldn’t get it out of my head that I would’ve done better if I had taken the time to stretch.
So is it all mental?
I think at least a portion of it is. Running is a mentally driven sport. Most of the time, if you can get past your mental barriers, you’ll move a lot farther and faster than you thought possible.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stretch at all though.
Basically, the debate is about whether you should stretch before and after your workout. Either way, you must stretch after if you want to prevent injury and reach your maximum performance level. Your muscles need it. Don’t believe me? Take a beginner yoga class and your body will worship you afterward. It happens to me every time.
So which works better for you? Do you stretch before or after your workouts? Have you tried not stretching before a run? How did it feel? I really want to know!
In other news, my back is feeling better today. I laced up the sneaks and went for a three-mile run this morning. I took it easy, but my form was much better and my legs felt stronger. I came home a hot sweaty mess.
In case you were wondering, my top is an Adidas sleeveless top with CLIMALITE technology. I don’t know the specific name, but if I figure it out I’ll be sure to update you! This top is another one of my faves because of its lightweight fabric and breathability. It doesn’t cling to my skin when I run, but it hugs all the right curves to give a flattering look.
After my run, I settled in for a big bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with one percent low-fat milk and half of a banana. I ate the other half of the banana immediately.
Here’s a random tidbit about me: I can’t eat the ends of a banana, or any brown spots. I just can’t do it. I always tear off the very ends of a banana and toss ’em, and if there are any brown spots, I won’t eat that section. Am I the only one out there who does this?
It should also be noted that this is the first time in a really long time that I’ve eaten breakfast after a run. Post about that to come soon because I think this is something that is very individual and I would love to get your ideas on the subject!
Now I’m off to start reading Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. I’m told this piece of fiction is basically worshipped among those in the running community, so I’m excited to dig in!