Jesus that sofa looks good,
you’ve just flicked off your music (or *cough* podcast *cough*), you take a big swig of water, you’ve finished pounding the pavements and swipe off your running shoes in the corner. That feeling, feels goooood.
You sit down in your usual spot. Knowing that you should be doing something to restore your freshly worked muscles and joints from the onslaught of tarmac that it’s consumed.
But you check your phone, maybe begin making some food to refuel from the session (which isn’t a bad thing). Yet you know what awaits you…the tightness, the DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness), the awkward steps to the toilet the next day that will undoubtably hit you.
And what does it take to put the brakes on this happening? Spending five minutes (maybe ten) to find some comfortable space, possibly roll out a matt and give those muscles a stretch.
If you haven’t heard of the benefits before, that’s ok, it’s a Friday night, I’ve got nothing better to do and I’m here to lay it out to you. The only thing that I ask of you by the end of this is that you actually do this the next time you go running.
Benefit numero uno…
Reduce injury risk
we want to develop quality tissue here. So by being able to stretch out the muscles, reduce any build up of tight spots will assist in allowing the recovery process in the body to do its thing while also allowing a relaxation feeling after exercise.
Improved range of motion
Stretching the overall tissues will allow for a better range of motion. A better range of motion will allow us to develop less restriction in the body so that our performance can become easier. If you think that your muscles as these tight structures that if you were to pull them tight and then try to push against them, it would require more force and energy. So if you release that restriction, it doesn’t require as much energy, energy that can be used for longer, hence better performance.
Reduced tension, improved sleep
The calming feeling of stretching is by where we trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, our ‘rest and digest’ state. In this state we do our best recovery. And a great way to see your recovery is that every minute you are not working, until your next training session, then each minute counts to improve your recovery.
Flushing lactic acid
Removing lactic acid from the muscles after is a big one for being able to improve the DOMS response to running. Something that I recommend, with success, is being able to do this is stretching into the hips straight after a run. The hips is where a lot of our lympathetic system drains, so by ‘massaging’ the muscles by stretching and moving them will to help promote this process.
So there’s just a few reasons as to why you would benefit form spending a little bit of time stretching straight after your run.
If you’re unsure where to start. You could try out one of my Youtube videos to get yourself started.