That is the question.
And, dear readers, it’s one which I am asking you all to help me answer.
As a still-finding-my-way-newbie runner, there are many basic things about which I’m unsure.
Like, actually, seriously, how important is stretching before and/or after a run? Do you all stretch before even what you know is going to be a short run?
Since the man with whom we started running and training 18 months ago is a tad indifferent about stretching, it’s not a habit I have taken on board. When I feel the need to stretch, I do so, but it’s not a religious pre-run ritual.
Between you, me and the gatepost, when I see people furiously stretching away before races, I get rather intimidated. Oh heck, they clearly know so much more than me/are going to be way way fitter – that kind of thing.
Another reason for skipping the stretches is the desire to run and not “waste” precious run time, especially if time is limited. (Cue for you to tell me that stretching is not a waste of time…) Now, more than ever, in our brutal Delhi summer, any time spent stretching means less running time before the sun gets too fierce (which it did this morning, a propos of nothing).
I almost never remember to stretch after a run. I’m either dashing to the car to escape the sun (& give my dogs water) or dashing to the loo, or some such, and stretching gets forgotten.
However, having said that, after the brilliant SCMM this January, the women finishers were ushered into the most amazing holding area where we were gently ordered to stretch by utterly charming and uber fit young things, and you know what? Ne’er an ache or a pain the next day…so there probably is something to be said for stretching after a long run.
I went online to find these photos (photo credits are down below, at the end of the post) and of course there are pages and pages and yet more pages of recommended stretches. There are lists galore of the 6 most important stretches/10 best yoga positions/whatever…and so now I’m all confuddled and bemused.
OK, OK – I think I might just have answered my own question through writing this post. Yes, I probably should be stretching more.
What I would love to hear from you, would be your suggestions as to which are the most effective stretches, pre- and post-run.
How many repetitions?
And – is there a recommended order for doing stretches? A sort of logical progression from top to bottom of one’s body, for example? Or does it not actually matter in which order one stretches?