Stretching for runners

I have two clients preparing for the Virgin London Marathon this coming April, whilst others are training for half marathons and triathlons or are just starting out with C25K programmes. Whatever the distance they’re all runners who need to take care of their bodies and remain injury free to reach their individual goals.

At the moment it’s very cold, and whilst that shouldn’t stop you going for a run, it’s even more crucial that those muscles are good and warmed up before you head out. The warmer muscles are, the less likely you are to sustain injury. So what type of stretching should you do pre-run?Static stretching, gradually lengthening muscles and holding the position for 30 seconds or more, may actually compromise performance before exercise, so these are best left until after your run. Rather, think about what kind of movements you will be taking the joints and muscles through when you’re actually running. Include high stepping, butt kicks, arm swings and walking lunges to improve range of motion and warm up the muscles that you’re going to use on the road or trails. These will also increase your heart rate and circulation, as well as body temperature, which will make your run easier and more efficient.

It’s a good idea to wear more base layers in the current weather as well as gloves and a hat to keep you extra toasty. It’s always easier to remove layers than to put on ones you haven’t got! Now, if anyone fancies dragging me out for a SLOW run I’m game, I’ve not been too motivated to run recently and I miss it. Sometimes having a running buddy gives you the push you need to actually get out there and get started- so come on don’t be shy, as you can see I’ve got my trainers on and I’m ready to go!