We’ve all been told time and time again by parents, coaches, and PE teachers: “don’t forget to stretch before you run!” And rightly so – stretching is incredibly important. But did you know that there are certain types of stretches that are better to do before a run, and others that are better done after?
One small injury can push your fitness goals further and further out of reach…so it’s important to get this right! Here are our top stretching tips to keep you running and smashing those fitness goals:
- Do dynamic stretches before you run
Focus on ‘dynamic stretches’ to prepare your body for a run. Bottom kicks and high knees are a fun way to warm up your leg muscles and get your heart rate up. Swinging your arms around in circles gets those biceps and triceps ready to power through!
- Warm up with a jog
Blitz all of those key areas all at the same time, and go for a jog to warm up. Whether you’re running a kilometre or a marathon, a light, five-minute jog will make the rest of the run so much easier.
- Stretch after a run…if necessary
‘Static stretches’ are stretches that are designed to improve flexibility. Research shows that static stretches are better used after a run, to stretch particular areas of the body that may feel tight. You may feel some resistance while doing these stretches, but you shouldn’t feel any sharp/intense pain – if you do, you’re doing it wrong.
One of the best ways to ‘cool down’ is to sit down, relax, and focus on your breathing. The heavy breathing that happens after exercise is due to your increased heart rate, and this process naturally restores oxygen to your body, and expels heat and waste. So if you don’t feel up to stretching, or going for another jog after your run, it’s actually OK. J
Want to know more? Check out The Athletes Foot’s blog post on The Art of Stretching to uncover the myths & truths of stretching and don’t forget to keep us updated with your training photo via Facebook and Instagram using #BestTimeBNE!