Post Run Stretching

You just finished running and you barely have time to shower and get to work, who has time (or desire) to stretch? Post-run stretching is done by less than 30 percent of runners. What are the benefits of making time for stretching after we run?

Running is a continuous pounding and stress on muscles and the fascia (fiber that covers our muscles) that start at our feet and go all the way up to our necks. Depending on our running gait (form), we tend to stress some areas of our anatomy more than others and multiply that by however many times we run each week, and you have a body that gets beat up pretty good. Lack of specific attention to a post-run body, will compound the damage and can lead to tightness, that we do not even realize adversely affects our running efficiency and running gait. Tight, sore muscles and scarring of the fascia, is what we feel after a tough or long run and while it may not be avoidable, we can help ourselves start the healing process by post-run stretching. Skipping out on stretching after a run, will eventually compound the results of tight muscles, and scarring of the fascia, leading to poor running form, extended periods of soreness and possibly injury.

Post-run stretching should focus on stationary static stretching, where the runner now holds the stretch of a particular muscle for 15 to 20 seconds. This hold sends a neuro wave to the muscle to stretch, thus returning back to the its normal length. Muscles work best when they are at their normal length and that is the goal of post-run stretching. Fascia also gets beat up pretty good during stress (running), and stretching as well as self-myofascial release (foam rolling) are helpful in breaking up the scarring.

As with pre-run stretching, we encourage our runners to take 6 to 8 minutes after their run, to do some static stretching and maybe later, do some foam rolling. By being diligent with post-run stretching, the runner will feel better the next day and their next run will start out much better. Most important, post-run stretching will help to prevent injuries.

Here is a great video that takes longer to watch than you actually have to stretch. Please let NFLR know if we can help you with your stretching!