Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stretching


I’m just going to come right out and say it: I don’t stretch. Ever. I don’t stretch before my runs, I don’t stretch after my runs, and I most certainly don’t stretch during my runs. OK, occasionally I’ll do this after a long run, but not for a significant amount of time and I’m not sure that it counts as stretching.

I used to stretch all the time before I went running but then I read somewhere that it could be harmful to stretch cold muscles and that was pretty much all the excuse I needed to stop. (Stretching not reading.) I know that I should stretch and sometimes I even tell myself that I’m going to stretch after my run but it never happens. When I run in the morning I find myself with no time to stretch because I have to go to work. When I run in the evening I have no time to stretch because dinner is often ready when I get home (not complaining about that by the way). When I run on the weekend I have no time to stretch because there’s always something more appealing that I need to do when I get home, like poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick.

I guess I find it hard to make the time to stretch because I’ve never experienced any downside to not stretching. Am I the only runner who is like this? Surely there are some of you out there who never stretch, right? Those of you who do stretch with the regularity of a food critic working his way through the Mexican genre are invited to let me know in the comments why I should stretch. Who knows, maybe something you say will cause me to start stretching, and I’m talking about real stretching not the typical stretch and yawn reaction that your comments so often produce.

Don’t forget this is the last day to get a comment in for the Pearl Izumi giveaway. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow!

39 comments:

  1. I'm with you on that one.

    No stretching from me.

    I'm a fairly new runner, so 7 miles is the longest I have run.(so far)

    Maybe stretching should be for really long runs, I have no idea.

    maybe it is something Scottish that makes stretching look wimpy and running macho!?

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  3. You stretch all the time. That food critic analogy was a stretch. CAN I GET A RIMSHOT?

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  4. Awww come on! I thought of that food critic line months ago and have been dying to use it. It wasn't that bad was it?

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  5. i never stretch. when i was in high school (and could run a mile in 4:26) i refused to stretch or warm up whenever possible. sometimes coaches make you do that kind of stuff though.

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  6. who has time to stretch after running 20 miles? Aren't there babies to feed, floors to mop? Seriously.

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  7. I never stretch... unless you count rolling my eyes as some sort of eye stretch when I see all these other yahoos in twisted and weird positions (especially BEFORE runs).

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  8. I'm not sure if stretching benefits my running or prevents running injuries. But as Mr. Bikram supposedly instructed a yoga teacher of mine, nobody wants a woman with creaky, unflexible hips.

    Because I think it is VERY sexist to call a man a woman in an attempt to insult (rather than flatter) him, I am not going to riff off that with any advice for you related to stretching.

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  9. I always stretch after my runs.
    I've been injured a couple of times and the injury always stayed with me until I started stretching the right body part.
    Last injury felt like a groin pull, couldn't really run for almost a month and I couldn't figure out what was doing it.
    I read up on it and found out that tight quads can pull those muscles. I started stretching my quads and the pain went away almost instantly and I was back to running in a couple of days.
    Maybe it's just me because I'm also horribly inflexible like a zombie so maybe that has something to do with it as well.

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  10. I am also a non-stretcher. I've always heard that its purpose is to prevent injury. Since I never get injured, why bother?

    Also -- you can take me off the list for your Pearl Izumi giveaway. I sent them a note and threw around my enormous weight of bloggery influence...and scored my own free pair to review!

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  11. No stretchin' for me either. I would stretch some before a run, but heard of the same do not stretch cold muscles advice so i stopped. Nice ice bath after anything longer than 10 miles is a must in my book, way more fun than stretching.

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  12. I stretch before every run, after some runs, and some days when I don't run. I'm like Aaron - muscle balance/injury prevention. But given my advanced age (47), my comments may not apply to this group of youngsters. Maybe it's an old guy thing: kids are grown, wife doesn't cook dinner, extra time to piddle around and stretch stuff.

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  13. I never stretched.

    Then I developed IT band syndrome.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    Now, despite my loathing of stretching, I HAVE to do it or else. I'm hoping that with time, like flossing my teeth, it becomes slightly less annoying and it just another habit.

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  14. I don't stretch either.

    I'll occasionally stop mid-run to "stretch out my calves", but it's really an excuse to hang on a stop sign and catch my breath.

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  15. My wife doesn't stretch, and she's been doing OK (although she has lost some flexibility in her "old age"). I don't stretch much before swimming or biking because they are lower impact. But I usually NEED to stretch before running. I'm injury prone, so I need to warm everything up and then give a little stretch. But that's the key - you need to warm up first. It's stretching cold muscles/tendons that can hurt you!!

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  16. I don't warm up, cool down, or stretch usually. I just run out the door, run some miles, run in the door and eat a cookie. Works for me. ;)

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  17. @tfh - Wow! Your neighbors thought that creaky sound was your bed! Turns out it was your hips? Either way - you and the husband have been getting BIZZ-ZAY!!1!

    Also, congratulations on discovering sexism (!) amongst male athletes! That's the greatest, most news-worthy thing since the discovery of sand in the desert or a run-on sentence in a Vanilla post!

    @Vanilla - Building on what you said at my blog, I'd just like to point out that.

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  18. I don't stretch before I run, but if I get tired while running I stop and stretch - I really don't need to, but it seems more athletic than standing on the side of the road gasping for air.

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  19. I think I stretch too much and never seem to get to a point where I can just do it sometimes. I wish I had the option of not stretching!

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  20. Once I found out that my knee problems were caused by a tight IT band and tight calves, I became a religious stretcher. It really helps prevent injuries, especially stuff like Achilles tendonitis.

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  21. I think pre-run stretching is BS. I stretch afterward, but not for long. I don't really care if you do or not. Just don't complain when your groin snaps in half mid-run. Try retying that sucker.

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  22. I never stretched religiously until I figured out a lot of aches & pains the following day was prevented by the stretching. And yeah, the discovery of my ITB.

    If not stretching worked for me, I wouldn't.

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  23. I never stretch. EVER. And I've never felt like I needed to, either. There are so many better things to be doing with my time...like sit on my ass and watch LOST.

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  24. I rarely stretch. Afraid if I tried I might hurt something. Though running on a small 200 meter track recently has created a few issues.

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  25. I try to do a quick easy stretch before, then some yoga after... when I have time. I'm new at running, so the yoga helps with the soreness... maybe 10 years from now, instead of stretching, food critic??? ;)

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  26. Most people I know don't really stretch until they get an injury that a) prevents them from running, b) takes forever to heal, and c) requires constant stretching to keep it from happening again.

    The kicker? The injury probably could have been prevented in the first place by stretching. I don't stretch religiously, but I do try to stretch out a bit after my runs. Plus now I'm doing yoga a few times a week, so that definitely works the stretchy.

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  27. I stretch regularly, not before but after the run. But it is a quicky and only last about 15 minutes or so which involve calves, hams, quads,periformis, etc.

    I didn't stretch before and ended up in arrays of injuries.

    So, I compeled myself to do it daily.

    Hope I could be as lucky as you that you can escape this.

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  28. How do you manage to not stretch. I have to stretch, use the stick and get massages if I want to be able to run ever.

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  29. Same here, no stretching for me either.

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  30. I never stretched until my IT band problems hit me several months ago, now I do it at least twice a day, plus a roller and the stick

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  31. I stretch before and after every run. Not one serious or minor injury, unless you count that whole ankle thing during the Chicago Marathon, but that shouldn't count b/c it was not running related so much as it was 'other stupid runner' related.

    Also, no offense was taken from the podcast, I thought it was hilarious.

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  32. I don't stretch. I find it hard to believe that you need to be that flexible to run, running is a limited motion excercise.

    Also, sweet picture of Jean Claude!

    http://lh3.ggpht.com/jonstanlambam/SEwqHKMOKuI/AAAAAAAAAI0/P0R8ZqLuR28/s512/JCVD%20dancing%201.jpg

    But I personally prefer it when Jean Claude bust out the dance moves, you can find the clip on youtube for a guaranteed laugh.

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  33. I spend about 10 minutes after a run stretching. It feels good to get the calves and hamstrings loosened up a bit.

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  34. "In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg’s muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as well, probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements.”

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  35. I never stretched until I developed some back problems directed related to running. Now, after every run. It makes a huge difference for me.

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  36. I always did some kind of half-ass stretching before and after. But after my IT Band issues last year I don't mess around. Not stretching will destroy you.

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  37. This post and all the comments make me so happy because I never stretch either (or almost never). Now I know I'm not the only idiot out there... :-)

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  38. I found this article about Lance Armstrong's training, and sorry to say to all you non-stretchers, that he's a bit like Gumby (darn it)... check it out: http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/Bike_like_Lance.htm

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  39. I didn't use to stretch, but then when I started running longer and longer, I developed some tendonitis in my knee that the PT said was caused (in part) by not stretching my hip flexors and other muscles. I started doing some stretching and the tendonitis went away. Because I am a lazy person who likes to pretend that the advice a PT gives me is not really accurate, I slid off the wagon again. And the tendonitis came back. I have been doing yoga like a madwoman for the last couple of weeks (well, like a very calm and zen-prone madwoman) and my knee feels much better. I think it depends on the person. I am not naturally flexible. Maybe some of the non-stretchers are.

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