Marathon Running

Marathon Running – The Importance of Stretching.

For Marathon Running, stretching can be useful for two different reasons. First of all, you can use stretching to address specific muscle restrictions which are identified as being contributory to a specific injury. Tight or shortened muscles are commonly associated with overuse injuries. The shortening may be at the same site as the injury or in the muscles close by. Muscle tightness may be secondary to neural restriction, muscles imbalances or trigger points. This needs to be corrected first if stretching is to be effective.

For example, a runner who has weakness in the buttock muscles is likely to have particularly tight hamstrings, Any amount of hamstring stretches will not resolve the issue and gluteal (buttock) strengthening exercises will need to precede the stretching programme. Stretching needs to be done on a regular basis, as instructed by the sports therapist or physiotherapist.

Secondly, stretching is very important as part of an injury prevention programme. Running is a very repetitive, one dimensional activity. This means that the muscles and joints are only working in very small, specific ranges of motion. This means they are likely to become short and tight.

Marathon running – warm up

In general, it is suggested to do dynamic stretches at the beginning of a training session. This should follow a short warm up, which may be jogging. Dynamic exercises include running with high knees, kicking heels to bottom and stride lunges. They should all be comfortably performed. This is even more important before a speed or interval training session.

Marathon running – cool down

At the end of a training session, a cool down is very important and this should include stretching. Technique is key when it comes to stretching, and runners would be advised to seek advice on the best way of stretching all the key muscles groups.

Here are some stretches to help with injury prevention:

Marathon Running 1Hamstring:

Keep your chest up as you maintain a curvature in your lower back as you lean forward.

Hold for 30 seconds.

 

 

 

Marathon Running 2Quadriceps:

Stand and hold onto a support. Keep your back flat and draw up your bent knee. Keep both thighs level to each other and feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Make sure you do not allow your back to arch as this will reduce the stretch.

Hold for 30 seconds.

 

 

 

Marathon Running 3Calf (Straight leg):

Stand with your affected foot behind you and keep your heel on the floor as you lean forwards until you feel a stretch in your calf. Make sure both your feet are pointing forwards.

Hold for 30 seconds.

 

 

 

Marathon Running 4Calf (bent leg- soleus):

Bring the back foot in a bit and bend the knee until you feel a stretch lower down in the Achilles tendon. You can balance out your weight on both legs as you stretch.

 

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