alsoran runners Stretching!

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Stretching could probably be defined as something runners do when they are injured!  I know I have certainly smiled at my physio and said those exact words.  But alas, much as we would like to believe this, it is not true!  I have learnt the hard way about running with cold or “sleeping” muscles.

I like to look at stretching as “waking up” my muscles.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t follow a specific pre-run/race routine.  It all depends on the time of day I am running as well as the weather conditions (outside temperature, wind and/or rain).  If I’m running first thing in the morning I usually do a few simple back stretches (I’ve had back injuries in the past so need to take care).  I also do gentle hamstring and calf stretches.  If I am running later in the day my muscles are already pretty active so I may just start off by jogging for 5 minutes.  This usually does the trick.

I believe the key to stretching is to do them easy ie. start slowly.  When stretching, your original stretch only allows so much flexibility.  After a few stretches you will find that you are able to extend the muscle that little bit further.  A few more stretches and the muscle will extend even further.  However, never stretch to a pain limit!

On Comrades morning, I usually have a hot bath or shower to “wake and warm up” my muscles.  It works!!!!  When travelling to the start, I usually do “feet flexing” exercises to keep my feet and calves warm.  I also focus on holding in my core muscles while trying to “relax” at the same time.

Internal links: core stability, physio, comrades morning, core stability,
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2010