Training Program:


I cannot overstate the necessity and benefits of stretching regularly
as part of your running routine, let alone your marathon training
program. How we stretch, why we stretch, and when we stretch are
the keys to making stretching work for you. There are many texts
and magazine articles that provide photos and diagrams of stretches
that relate to the sport of running. I highly recommend referring
to these and other resources. Running coaches and/or aerobics instructors
are also great sources of information and usually are quite willing
to demonstrate specific stretching techniques.

offers many benefits

  • Helps prevents muscular aches, pains, and
  • Reduces the possibility of muscular
    soreness/fatigue over the next day(s)
  • Decreases the possibility of causing
    a muscular injury
  • Increases the muscles efficiency/effectiveness
    of movement (improving your overall speed, stamina, and form)
    • Enhancing the ability of muscles
      to contract/work more powerfully and economically
    • Lengthens stride
    • Improves your overall form
  • Great for relaxation

General Stretching Rules for Runners

Stretching Before the Run

One of the greatest misconceptions about exercise and running is
that one must stretch before hitting the roads. In fact, the opposite
is the case. If you really feel you must stretch, jog or walk for
5 or 10 minutes before stretching to warm those muscles up and to
get blood flowing.

Static stretch basics:

  • Stretch the muscle to the point of its greatest
    range of motion, but do not overextend. You should feel very
    minimal tightness/discomfort (but not pain).
  • Hold and control the stretch for at
    least 30 seconds (and maximum 60 seconds).
  • Stretch all the major leg muscle groups
    (e.g., calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, hip flexors).

  • Stretch uniformly (after stretching
    one leg, stretch the other).
  • Don’t overstretch an injured area as
    this may cause additional damage.
  • CAUTION: Never bounce when stretching
    (called ballistic stretching). This increases your chances of
    incurring injury! 

For Speedwork and Races

  • Warm up first with 10 minutes of easy jogging.
  • Stretch thoroughly (see static stretch
    basics above).
  • Do 6 to 8 striders (Short bursts of
    speed building to race pace lasting approximately 80 meters).

  • Begin the speedwork session or the
  • Do a 10-minute cool-down jog.
  • Stretch thoroughly (see static stretch
    basics above).

Make Stretching After the Run Part
of the Run

A workout isn’t over until you stretch thoroughly (part of your
cool down period) immediately following the run. Your legs will
be most receptive to the benefits of stretching immediately after
you run. Waiting 30 to 40 minutes later after your fatigued and
tight muscles have cooled down (especially after long or fast-paced
workouts) increases your chances of causing injury. In short,
stretch gently and slowly while your muscles are still warm. Make
the after running stretch part of the cool down process.

Additional Resources

Check out this great
website for stretching photos and tips:

Pick up this wonderful book on stretching

    Complete Stretching – by Maxine
    Tobias and John Patrick

A Final Note
Even if you presently have poor flexibility, a regular stretching
program will greatly improve your range of motion through static
stretching. Get started now and/or continue stretching as part of
your running routine.

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