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Top 4 Training Tips for Runners in Omaha – Part 4

Part 4 – Stretching

I know.  I hear you.  Outside of a Yogi, who really enjoys stretching? This is not just relegated to runners…

You did it in school because that’s what your gym teacher made you do.

You did it when you had an injury.  You stopped after your injury felt better because the pain was gone.

I’m an adult and make my own decisions… so why in the world would I want to do it now?


Overuse Injuries

I’m not saying that stretching will stop overuse injuries.  I’m also not saying it won’t help.  What I am saying is part of what overuse injuries are is just that:  overuse.

The other side of this annoying coin is moving with an inefficient hitch in your giddy-up.  Your body is not stupid, after all.  When something doesn’t feel good, your body will find another way to do it and that other way can create bigger problems across more joints than what the original problem was.

Here’s an example I like to refer to — your body is full of mobile joints and stable joints.  In fact, it alternates throughout the entirety of your body:

  • Your toes are a mobile set of joints
  • Your arches of your feet are intended to be stable
  • Your ankles are supposed to be mobile
  • Your knees are stable in that they are only SUPPOSED to flex and extend in one direction
  • Your hips should be mobile
  • So on and so forth

Well, if you sprain your ankle, you have effectively taken a mobile joint and turned it into a stable joint.  Where do you think that lack of mobility ends up in your body?  It has to go somewhere.

It’s is likely that your knee will start to make up some of that difference, your hip will begin to lock down to create the missing stability, and so on.  Well, what happens if your IT band starts to hurt when you run?  What ‘modifications’ do you think your body will undertake?

One could argue that stretching could help you stave off the likelihood of overuse injuries due to poor running mechanics.  One COULD argue that…


Breathing

One of the things we talk about during our classes and personal training sessions is the value of breathing:  we refer to the lack of breathing [and resulting facial expressions] as ‘poop face.’

Focusing on relaxing your breath [and your face] while you are stretching will result in a more effective use of your mobility time.  It’s also probably no surprise that relaxing your breathing [and your face] while you run results in a lower perceived exertion.

This means you will probably feel like the run isn’t as hard as it might be if you were straining to breathe or holding a grimace on your face.

So, relax your face and breathe!  It’s a great time to learn how!


Moral of the Story?

Stretching goes much deeper than just something you have to do and we’ve only just talked briefly as to why.

If you want to stave off overuse injuries, if you want to learn how to breathe better and make effective use of your stretching and running time, or if you simply want to take some additional ‘you’ time, stretching is the way to go!

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