It still surprises us at Laurel Lodge Physiotherapy how much runners fail to take adequate care with their stretching routine. In the lead up to the Dublin City Marathon, we’ve had so many athletes attend with injuries as a consequence of poor or inadequate (or in some cases) absent stretching routines.
Running certainly is increasing in popularity and with 14,000 runners, or thereabouts, likely to be beating a track around Dublin on the 27th of October in the City Marathon, we thought we’d impress upon those athletes the importance of a good stretching routine and provide the basics a stretching programme for the major muscle groups of the lower limbs.
Perhaps it’s that running is an individual sport and the training is done individually that people tend to focus on the run itself and rush or skip over the stretching component. Whatever the reason, if you’re running two to three evenings per week with a long run at the weekend, you need to stretch. Injuries are inevitable otherwise.
Stretching is best performed at the end of a run when the muscle are still warm. For general stretching purposes it’s recommended that each stretch is held for 30 seconds and repeated three times. In the next couple of weeks of tapering before the big day it’s also a good idea to spend more time stretching so that any residual muscle tightness from a summer of hard training is banished by the time you hit the starting line on 27th October.
If you still don’t have a clue what you should be stretching have a look at our lower limb stretching programme below, which is a good all round routine. Happy stretching and good luck on the big day!