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Good stretching and bad stretching before running

May 24, 2018

Although we often hear that it’s bad to stretch before running or exercising, we don’t hear that dynamic stretching as part of a warm up is a good idea.

There’s been some coverage of a recent study from the University of Nevada showing how static stretching before exercise may be bad for performance. Although this study was aimed at sprinters, the same applies to those of us going for a gentle forty minute plod around the park. While it maybe bad to do static stretches before exercise, it’s still thought to be a good idea to do them after. As they point out in this study “Developing flexibility is important for reducing sports injury, but the time to stretch is after, not before, performance.”

They recommend whole-body warm-up activity followed by dynamic stretching before exercise. An article in the NY Times has some good basic dynamic stretches and a video demo too. Although this is aimed a tennis players the “Straight Leg March” is a good one for runners and targets the glutes and hamstrings. The usual caveat of taking it easy when doing these stretches for the first time definitely applies here!

4 responses to “Good stretching and bad stretching before running”

  1. LisaNewton says:

    Stretching is something I often times forget to do, and my flexibility has suffered for that.

    Note to self: Stretch before and after each race walk!!

  2. Jason says:

    Some very helpful stuff, thanks. Come visit me at my blog if you get a chance.

  3. pchieng says:

    I have started running in the mornings, right before work. So I don’t have time to really stretch before the run, but I do have to admit that I think you have a better chance of pulling a muscle or getting injured if you don’t (warm-up and) stretch before your workout.

    Check a post I made about some simple running stretches I used to do when I was in cross country:

  4. Nick says:

    Definitely agree with this. When I was younger (and stupid) I used to do deep stretches as a “warm up” before my main training.

    These days, I start off with some light dynamic stretching for perhaps 3 minutes. After my run, I then do about 10 minutes of nice deep stretching.