January 15, 2010

The Stretch Experiment

So I quit stretching.There, I said it.  Well, to be honest, I quit stretching post run for the most part out of laziness and my mind being elsewhere.  So far, I havent really noticed.  Is it really that necessary?  The reasonI ask is due to one particular friend of mine who shall remain nameless (Jerry) who refuses (Cook) at times around me to stretch.  If he doesnt have to (like the robot that he is) take care like this, then do I?? 
I give the obligatory calf stretch a few seconds, but then just stop.  I stretch all the time, much to my wife's mockery ("bend your knees when you are looking for things on the floor you look so ridiculous!"), but my habit has slid from performing stretches rigourously post run to not stretching much at all after my shorter runs especially.  I know I have rarely let myself stretch for as long as recommended.  Maybe in the shower to let my nether regions get a good rinse off, but not really as long as I should.  So I am going to call it my stretch experiment.  Thats right, it sounds more noble if it sounds intentionally exploratory.  I still sit at my desk and figure four my ITB and I stand naturally work on my hips (piriformis accasionally too), but for record I have been a undisciplined stretcher.  Anyone else drop habits like this?  Has it caused any grief?? Maybe its the rebel in me questioning the legitimacy of all the calf, hamstring and quad stretches I have not really felt the benefits from.  Great now that I have said this, I will be extra diligent, I am sure.


Anonymous said...

I've been running for 35 years. (Almost) always stretched pre-run for about 30 years. Then only stretched post-run for about 4 years, following the changing advice I read in running magazines and online. For the last year I haven't stretched hardly at all. Don't miss it. Don't think it has affected my flexibility. Haven't been injured. But during the last year I've also been transitioning to barefoot/minimalist running so that may have something to do with it.

Once in a while at the gym I'll go through some stretches as part of a core workout but that usually doesn't coincide with a run.

Enjoying the blog!

Ron said...

Nice post Chad. I've found that stretching does make you feel better (more limber, etc) but other than that I've seen no real evidence that it affects running at all. I will say that it can help a bit with soreness.

In my experience I like to stretch lightly, either morning or night, but I refuse to stretch pre or post-run. I do running drills instead which I think are much more directed toward running.

Run long, run fast :)

Chad said...

I feel like i will be struck by lightening.

But seriously, I do stretch but boy I have not been consistent or dong it long enough. No injuries?? Great. That is the only thing keeping me staying limber, I have always been quite a flexible person, dont want to lose that. You are leading me even further down a dark path with that!! LOL Keep working hard and playing hard!

Chad said...

THanks Guys for your input. I have found that I do stretch throughout the day, especially when there is a vulnerable area (my butt seems to be a weak spot!) and use the faithful and painful foam roller. See my latest entry on what I actually do with that torture device. Also, icebaths after my longer runs (anything over 22k) have been immensely helpful in speeding up my recovery. I have wierd areas I need to stretch, such as my external rotators....

mjrunner said...

After experimenting, I feel that stretching only the vulnerable areas is really all that is necessary! Before run, areas that are tight; and after run, areas that have swelled.