Stretching is a key principle of injury prevention.  For runners preparing for the Marathon entering a final week of rest, every effort should be made to spend these low mileage last few days preparing your body with adequate and appropriate stretching.  At the clinic we hear athletes, runners and field sports players in particular, make the excuse that stretching doesn’t work for them or improve them in any way.  However at the other end of the extreme we have dancers, gymnasts and ballerinas that stretch so much that they develop injuries relating to hypermobility.

Our answer to the stretching sceptics is always to illustrate the example of the dancers, who spend up to three hours per day stretching.  It’s through dedicating time to their stretches that they can achieve such flexibility.  We don’t advocate that runners, for example, should stretch as much as this but it serves to illustrate that stretching does work but it takes time and is as deserving of your dedication as much as any other part of your training regimen. 

In these last few days leading up to the marathon, it’s always advisable that you don’t change too much in your preparation or you normal routine.  The mileage will certainly be scaled way back and some stretching and foam rolling will go a long way to ensuring those legs are loose and light in the lead up to the big day.  Best of luck to all taking park in the marathon next Monday.

Have a read also of last week’s blog on stretching for runners which may also be of interest.