Saturday, November 22, 2008


Two years ago I used to be a regular stretcher. I did a lot of running at the gym and it was convenient to stretch on the mats after running. I started thinking that stretching didn't matter and that I didn't need to stretch - so I stopped doing static stretching and just did some dynamic stretching before running. Well, for pretty much most of 2008 I have been experiencing really tight hamstrings and as a result, most of my running started really slow until my hamstrings warmed up and then I could pick up the pace a bit. I didn't really give too much thought to why my hamstrings were sore and tight all the time, I assumed it would work itself out on its own, but it didn't.

Since I'm going to start my marathon training at the beginning of January, I started looking back at my old logs from 2006 when I was in top shape and ran my marathon PR. I was really surprised to see that that my average weekly pace was around 8 minutes per mile - compared to lately when 8:40 or so was the average, so I started to wonder how I could have slowed down so much in only 2 years! After much pondering and some reading on the web, it finally struck me, stretching!!!! I know, Jim has been preaching to me about stretching forever, but I thought that dynamic stretching was even better than static stretching, apparently I was wrong - at least for me. I know, some people don't have to stretch at all, but I'm not one of them. So about 4 weeks ago I started to stretch again, 2-3 times per day, in the morning, after a run and before bed. At first, it was hard, I was soooo tight I couldn't even get close to touching my toes. I could also tell that my right hamstring was a lot tighter than my left and even lifting my leg in the air while lying down caused pain. Here is my favorite stretch, the lying hamstring stretch. There are more great stretches to try at

I am happy to report that my hamstring tightness and soreness is pretty much gone and after 4 weeks of stretching I can tell that my range of motion has increased, I can easily touch my toes now! About a week and a half after starting to stretch regularly I also noticed that my daily pace started to pick back up and now it's averaging about 8:15 over a week instead of 8:40. Looks like I will be a regular stretcher from now on!

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