"Putting Evidence Back Into
Running Injury and Performance"
Stretching: Helps After Run?
“I have been running for about four months now and am enjoying it a lot. The only thing that worries me is the muscles in my legs are always very sore for a couple of days after running. I stretch a lot before and after my runs but this does not seem to help. Is there anything else I can do?”
– Janice G.
Many thanks for your question, Janice. The pain you are referring to sounds very much like what is commonly referred to as ‘DOMS’ – Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. Many runners believe that this soreness is down to not stretching sufficiently before or after the run but the reality is this may not be quite true.
I will assume that by ‘stretching’ you are referring to the traditional practice of holding a muscle at its maximum length for 20-30 seconds, be it the quads, hamstrings, calves, etc. Despite the popularity of including such stretches in a warm up, studies suggest that as far as reducing risk of injury goes, static stretching offers no benefit to runners. It may even slightly decrease performance. The general recommendation is to instead include dynamic, movement based exercises in the warm up such as the lunge matrix, leg swings, toe pumps, etc.
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Plantar Fasciitis: What Can I Do?
“I’ve started getting a dull achy pain in the sole of my foot and back towards my heel. It doesn’t hurt all the time but bothers me when I run and walk sometimes. I know that I have a tight calf in that leg and have to wear high heels for work. What should I do?”
Brace or Kinesio Tape: Which?
“I’m having knee problems at the moment and have had to stop running. My physio has given me a knee brace to wear, but my trainer says I shouldn’t wear it and instead use kinesio tape. I’m really confused.”
ITB Syndrome: How To Recover?
“I’ve been told I’ve got ITB syndrome and have had to pull out of the marathon I was training for. I’ve only been running since last November and I only got my longest run to around 12 miles and then the outside of my knee got very painful and I couldn’t run anymore. It’s really hilly where I live and I wondered if that might have something to do with it?”