well. i’ve heard this a few times now from different sources and think i might be switching over to NOT STRETCHING BEFORE RACES. instead, trying to slowly warm up and get the muscles moving.
from earth drummers website
PRE-RUN STRETCHING IS NOT GOOD – AND MAY BE DETRIMENTALPublished by Coach Cox on January 14, 2010 in General. 0 CommentsAnother of my pet peeves is the ongoing belief of many runners of all abilities that pre-run static (still) stretching is a good thing. There’s a lot of bad info. circulating around out there, and this is some of the worst. From a physiological point of view, there’s nothing to be gained from pre-run static stretching, but there’s plenty to lose! Stretching a cold muscle is a bad idea, and can lead to muscle damage. Even if you don’t damage yourself doing it, static stretching of a cold muscle often leads to lethargic feeling muscles. They feel crappy because they were forced to stretch before they were warm and ready. I know some of you are thinking, “Well, then I’ll run easily for a mile or two, then stretch before my workout.” That’s not so bad, but it’s nowhere close to the best way to prepare for a good workout. Below is what I suggest.One important thing to remember is that a warm-up needs to be designed to get you ready to move. Running a mile or two, then stopping to do static stretching, does not do this. The static stretching actually interrupts the flow of a good, active warm-up. What the Earth Drummers do, and what I recommend for a warm-up before a quality workout, is the following:1. Run 1-3 miles, starting at a very easy effort, and gradually working up to medium effort by the end.2. Perform active Mobility Exercises (front to back leg swings, side to side leg swings, toe bounces) to loosen-up the lower body. There are plenty more Mobility Exercises that can be done, but these 3 hit all of the lower body muscle groups used in running, and for most of us, time is of the essence.3. Perform running form drills. We try to do these as a team 2x/week before our harder workouts. Some examples are High Knee Running, Butt Kick Running, Side Shuffle (like playing defense in basketball), Backward Run. You only need to do 2×20-30 yd. of each drill with a walk back to start recovery. 4. Do a few 50-100 meter strides and you’re ready to go.Note: If you are pressed for time, simply run 2 miles as suggested in step 1 above, do the 3 mobility exercises, and do a few 100 meter strides before your hard workout.After you’re done with your workout, do your static (still) stretches while your muscles are still warm.Now for easier run days, simply start VERY slowly and gradually work up to your desired pace over 1-2 miles. If you’re feeling extra tight, stop after 5-10 min. and do the 3 Mobility Exercises listed above.Finally, as with anything new, ease into these Mobility Exercises. Start by performing them over a limited range of motion. Over the weeks and months, your body will become more mobile and you’ll naturally be able to swing your legs over a far greater range of motion with no greater effort. When you get to this point, not only will you feel better and be more resistent to injury, you’ll also be able to run faster. Why? Because you’ll have much greater Dynamic Flexibility, which will lead to more economic running. Your muscles will be more plyable and therefore able to do more work with less effort.Please try this. I strongly believe it’ll help your running!