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Stretching

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RUN SNACK – 3 STRETCHES *MOST* RUNNERS SHOULD BE DOING

I make no secret of my dislike of stretching. I hate it. However, I have come to accept that there are 3 stretches that *most* runners would benefit from doing regularly. I say *most* because there are the inevitably lucky few who are naturally flexible. I hate you.

Anyway, the 3 stretches are:

  1. Hip flexor stretch. Modern living has messed us up – sitting for large parts of the day (at a desk, watching TV, in the car…) means that our hip flexors get short and super tight. Consequently, this also lengthens and weakens the hamstrings…maybe re-think whether you do in fact need to stretch your hamstrings - chances are they are weak, not tight.
  2. Calf stretch. This kind of goes with our propensity for weak and under-firing hamstrings and glutes, in that our quads and calves take up the slack. Tight calves are often are symptom (not necessarily the problem) for issues further up the chain, but I still reckon that there’s benefit to lengthening them out. (Particularly as I am having plantar fascia issues with my feet that are the direct result of tight calves from running up hills and stairs)
  3. Foam rolling. Yeah, so not quite a ‘stretch’, I still put it in the same category. Foam rolling doesn’t lengthen muscles in the same way as stretching, but it loosens up trigger points in muscles…basically clears up the ‘junk’. I foam roll my calves, quads, hamstrings, and my butt, but others do their back and other stuff too (I go for the bare minimum…).

Have I missed any that you consider ‘must-do’?

See you out there – Juddy

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RUN SNACK – WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR GOLF BALL

I mentioned earlier in the week about some homemade rehab/prehab equipment. Here’s a short video explaining what I do with them:

Yeah, so my home office is kind of messy at the moment. Don’t judge me…

See you out there – Juddy

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RUN SNACK – FLEXIBILITY VS STIFFNESS

I’m posing a question today without an answer from me (mainly because I don’t have one).

It’s somewhat generally accepted that stretching is a good thing – being flexible and mobile is good (or so we are told). But is there too much of a good thing?

An efficient runner is good at storing and releasing energy within and from their muscles. Try this analogy:

If you have a very flexible spring, it is easy to compress and returns softly to its uncompressed state. A stiff spring on the other hand is hard to compress, but when it is released it decompresses forcefully and with speed and power.

Interesting.

One would thing that as runners looking to run faster, we may in fact want a stiff spring to get a strong elastic response from our body. Overly flexible muscles may in fact dampen our body’s ability to release energy stored during the gait cycle.

As someone that dislikes stretching, I sure as heck hope this is true!

I think the take home is that there’s likely no “one-size-fits-all” approach to stretching – some people may need to increase their flexibility, but others may already have enough.

There’s plenty of current discussion around this topic: try reading Anatomy for Runners or this podcast from Kinetic Revolution for just a few views on it.

See you out there – Juddy

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