Stretching: The Key to Injury Prevention

Stretching: The Key to Injury Prevention

There are many philosophies regarding stretching. Some swear by dynamic stretches and others swear by foam rolling or using electronic massagers like a Theragun.

At 847 Running Company, we don’t discriminate against any of these philosophies. In fact, we support and stock many of these tools to aid in injury prevention. In the long-term, these types of routines will help prevent injuries. A few muscle groups to focus on are calves, hamstrings and quadriceps. There are many others to cover, but today we will stick with these.

So, stretching, when should you do this? One of the most important rules about stretching is to not stretch on cold muscles. What exactly does this mean? It means some sort of warm-up, preferably 10 minutes, at a slower pace than you typically would run. For example, if you typically run your races at 9 minutes per mile, this warm-up should be roughly 10:30 to 11 minutes a mile. So, after 10 minutes of jogging what should you do now? Lucky for you I’ve made a video on my stretching routine. The entire routine takes under 10 minutes!

Now ideally the aforementioned warm-up and stretch should be completed prior to each workout you do. I understand not everyone has 20 minutes to get ready for a run, so I’ll preface this with: this is recommended for each run, but not required. In my opinion, this is required prior to any speed work or hard workout you are planning to do.

Okay, so you’ve finished your run time to hop in the shower and get some grub, right? Well, maybe… if you have just run a hard workout a cool down and some more stretching may be in order. Wait- so I’m telling you not only do you have to warm-up and stretch for 20 minutes before, now I’m telling you to cool down and stretch again for 20 minutes?!? Well, ideally yes, after tough workouts your muscles require some additional attention. It helps your muscles recover and prepares you for your next workout.

Now that I’ve told you what you should be doing, let’s move to what you will inevitably end up doing instead. Since most people will end up not performing these additional maintenance tasks how do we steer clear of injuries? I mentioned warm-up and stretching should happen prior to a hard workout or any type of speed work to ensure your muscles are properly ready to be strained. However, if you are not doing one of these hard workouts there is a shorter alternative.

First option to mention is dynamic stretches. I go with 4 stretches to warm-up before a run. Each stretch should be performed 20 times or 10 for each side. This takes maybe a minute or two, so I highly recommend these stretches even if you’re crunched for time.

  • Elbow to Knee – to do this stretch you will need to raise your right knee across your body to your left elbow and immediately switch to your left knee to your right elbow seen in the depiction below.
Elbow to knee
  • Toe Reaches – reach your left hand down to your right toe and switch to reach your right hand to your left toe.
Toe Reaches
  • Around the World – lift your knee and swing it around starting from your left side all the way back to the start and switch to your left knee and swing it around your right side of your body and back to where you began.

Around The World

  • Jumping Jacks – straight forward 20 jumping jacks nothing special with these. It’s mostly to get your heart rate up.

Second option, if you absolutely have no time at all, use your first mile or first 10 minutes as your warm-up. Take it nice and easy regardless of the pace. After that initial 10 minutes start working up to your typical pace for your distance runs. You will be surprised to see how your body responds, your performance increases and pesky injuries stay at bay.

We have different tools to help you with recovery so make sure you check out the Ryker Roll Pestle, Royo Roller, Ryker Roll and Theragun Mini these can also assist with aches, pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.