Dynamic vs. Static stretching

Stretches_HighKnees

Are your pre-run stretches helpful or are they slowing you down?

Since I have been running for so long, I consider myself an “old school” runner.  I know that things change over time and I too, must change.  I am very open to learning new forms and techniques, nutrition, etc.  However, until I learn something new, I only have my experiences and knowledge from my earlier years of running.  I’ve learned a ton in the last 3.5 years and consider my running to be in the process of getting a complete makeover.  Every little bit helps!  I’ll pass along what I learn.

A few years ago I learned that I wasn’t stretching correctly.  How could it be that difficult?  Well, apparently, all the stretches I knew were static stretches and good for after running, but not good for pre-running.  I learned that the static stretching that I was doing before my run could actually slow me down.  I’m trying to run faster, not slower.  So, with the help of Jon Klingensmith (great coach!), I learned which stretches were good to do before and after my run.

Here’s a brief description of dynamic vs. static stretching:

“Dynamic stretching involves movements that more closely resemble what the body does during sports activities, but without the bouncing often involved in static stretching. Static stretching involves stretching while the body is at rest, by stretching to a point of tension and holding that stretch for a few seconds to a few minutes.”

“Dynamic stretching is usually done at the beginning of an exercise program after a proper warmup, while static stretching is usually performed after exercising. Dynamic stretches closely mimic movements made during exercise, so they’re usually used to prepare for athletic events. Static stretches are used to improve flexibility and cool your body down after you exercise, and are therefore done when the body is standing still.”

Here is another article about the 2 types of stretching:

http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-diary/best-way-stretch-and-after-workout

Here are some links with great stretches for after running:

http://www.active.com/running/Articles/5-Key-Stretches-for-Runners

http://www.active.com/running/Articles/4-Post-Run-Stretches-for-Runners.htm

Not only do I love running, but I also enjoy learning about running (especially if it will make me faster!).  Using dynamic stretches gives me an advantage over someone who is using “old school” stretching.

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