Posted by: Armand | June 11, 2010

Building stretching time into my running routine

I’ve started thinking differently in terms of timing my runs – basically estimating run time+10% for stretching. So where I allocate 30-ish minutes for a 5k, I now allow about 33-35 (allotting for variances in my pace etc) to give me a minimum of three minutes to get through my stretching routine. I give myself about 5-6 minutes on a 10k, and probably not long enough on the longer runs…

…but its already made a huge difference. The tightness in my shins is not a problem at all any more (although I’m still a bit worried about sore knees) and stiffness post-run is rarely a problem.  I’m feeling much more flexible in general… and, even amidst all the other Juneathon madness, I’ve run two pre-work 10ks this week (the second this morning as my Juneathon day 11 activity, another 60 minute 10k! w00t!) and am barely hobbling about at all.

I’m raring to go for longer runs tomorrow and/or Sunday, so will see if the “10%” rule applies – although I’m not sure I’ll have the patience to stretch for 12 minutes after a 2 hour run!

How do you plan your stretching?

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Responses

  1. The physio that I saw talked about how PNF stretching (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) can be more useful that static stretching.

    I am no expert on this stuff – as dodgy knees and tight hamstrings show – so check out details here:
    http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com/archives/pnf-stretching.php

    Not suggesting it is right for everyone but worth reading for background. I think key is to make sure that you don’t stretch a cold muscle.

    http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com/archives/warm-up.php

  2. The 10% stretching thing petrifies me so much I don’t stretch at all. I have the occasional month when I can’t walk due to a torn muscle, or 2 months with a stress fracture, but the stretching time is saved and it’s all worthwhile!!

  3. @James – that PNF stuff is hardcore. I don’t tend to run with friends (or a trainer) at the moment so might stick with the regular stuff. I’ve taken on board the no-stretching-cold-muscles rule but need to work out a warm-up that gets me going a bit quicker.

    @iliketocount – ha, not sure about that policy ;-). It sounds like you’ve had unfortunate luck with your stretches, I’ve been a bit luckier to date (touch wood, cross fingers), but my laziness at stretching has caused shinsplints, tight hamstrings and quads which all interfere with the running, so trying to sort out the kinks!


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