One of the biggest mistakes many people do when they are training is they don't stretch at all or enough. Tight muscles contribute to shinsplints, plantar fasciitis, and muscle pulls, which could sideline you for weeks and may even take you out of the race completely. Did you know that improved flexibility also shortens your recovery time. According to Skip Stolley, Director of VS Athletics Track Club in Santa Monica, California, looser muscles are more receptive to glycogen replacement, which accelerates healing.
So here is your power...your muscles get the most benefit from stretching post-run. Ideally, you'd tack on a 15-minute flexibility routine to your workout (see runnersworld.com/whartons). No time? Drop a six-miler to a five-miler and use those leftover minutes to hit your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. "You aren't hurting your workout-you're enhancing it," says Stolley. "The benefits of stretching will do your body more good than could be done by running that mile."
So give it a try and give your body all the things to help it be strong. Give your body a little and it will give you a lot in return. Thinking of you always Firestar...keep pushing and keep striving!
Runner's World. April 2008. Pgs. 43-44.