Top tips for static stretching


Stretching is an important part of your running training as it can improve your range of movement and help to prevent injury so it is hard to understand why many runners neglect it. If you have a greater range of movement you will be able to cover more ground with each step and this means running your chosen distance wither fewer steps and a quicker time. It's a no-brainer really: running more freely, quickly, efficiently and less inclined to injury!

There are two key times to stretch and types of stretches to use. During a warm up runners should perform dynamic stretching and static stretching should be performed after training or as a seperate session on its own. Static stretching should be performed in a gradual teasing movement slowly and without bouncing. The stretch should not hurt. If it does then you are pushing it too far. Likewise, if it feels very tight then you should back off.

The time that you hold the stretch for will depend on whether you are stretching after training to realign the muscle fibres or whether the session is a pure flexibility session where you want to increase range of movement. If it is the former you should hold the stretch between 8 and 12 seconds and if it is the latter the stretch should be held for approximately 30 seconds, this way the muscle tension falls after an initial reluctance and the muscle can be stretched further.

Click here for our runbritain Top 10 stretches for runners.

Please note that stretching should always be carried out on both sides so, for example, once you have held a stretch on the right leg for 10 seconds you should repeat it on the left leg for the same amount of time. It is important to be as symmetrical as you can be!

And good hydration is key to optimise a stretching session, hence this is why after training we hold stretches for only around 10 seconds as muscles may be dehydrated after working hard.

A more complete set of smart tips for Smarter running can be found on this link.