Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stretches for Running

Many of you might recognize the guy is a good buddy, Clas Bjorling. A few years back at an Epic Camp we attended, he shared with me his thoughts on stretching for performance and the prevention of injury. If a guy running 2:42 off the bike and sub 2:30 in an open marathon talks about running improvement, I tend to find utility. Here are my thoughts a few years later after treating myself and others.

I see (and experience) my share of overuse running injuries. The initial injury can be debilitating, but often the subsequent aches and pains are a result of a cascade effect from the initial injury/overuse/weakness. The offending injury then results in overload of other muscles, and their subsequent tightness.

Often times, treatment is directed at the source of pain. Many times we ignore the initial symptoms and initiate compensatory mechanisms that overload other muscles in an effort to protect the initially weak muscle.

Start with this simple routine...I find it useful for nearly all running related injuries. The emphasis of the flexibility program is directed towards the running core stabilizing muscles that can be tight. Relieving the tightness throughout the all of the running muscles is more effective than isolating the affected muscle alone.

These stretches are commonly found in most Yoga classes. And though typical Yoga classes are great, most of us are too fatigued to participate on a regular basis in the midst of heavy triathlon training. For this reason, I've collected a set of passive stretches that are very restful that you can complete without a lot of additional active work They really work best when you are really fatigued:

childs pose

down dog or bent knee calf stretches, leaning forward on hands

hero or lion pose

fire log pose

half lord of the fishes or sage

reclining big toe pose (use strap)

...sorry for the yoga terms; go to for pics of poses.

Hope this is helpful.

Dr. J