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Stretching Before Running Doesn't Prevent Injury and May Make You Slower

Before a Run, to Stretch or Not?

I have never been a fan of stretching before a run and prefer a dynamic warmup instead. I like to get my blood moving first and save the stretching for a post-run treat. I also feel like stretching a cold muscle can lead to pulls and tears in the tissue. There's another camp that feels quite the opposite: that not stretching before running can cause muscle injury. Well a new study proves us all wrong.

Orthopaedic surgeon Danial Perelas designed the stretching study involving 2,729 runners all with weekly mileage over 10 miles. The runners were assigned to either a stretching or non-stretching group, which required some participants to change their warmup routine and either add stretching or skip it. Unfortunately, the change in routine, rather than stretching or skipping the stretching, proved to be the biggest liability. Runners who altered their routine were more likely to suffer injury. Stretching before a run doesn't prevent injury, but it doesn't really cause it either; what matters most is what your body is used to.

How do you warm up before a run?

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Join The Conversation
TheLittleMonster TheLittleMonster 4 years
If I feel a little stiff, I'll do a quick quad stretch. But that's about as far as it goes. I walk for about 5 minutes, jog and then just build up into my run.
pecali8 pecali8 4 years
I just go for it and run!
TiVo TiVo 4 years
I usually either just go for it, or if I'm being smart I'll do a little 5-minute dynamic routine that is kind of like stretching. I notice it helps my IT Band when I do a little routine before hitting the pavement.
mandysneaks mandysneaks 4 years
I used to stretch before runs, but realized it's dangerous and a waste of time. I do dynamic stretches instead - kicks, jump jacks, jumping rope. But I always cool down with a short walk, foam roll and 5-10 minutes of stretching.
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 4 years
Just getting ready for a run is my warm-up; running upstairs to get a hair band, digging through the closet to get a jacket, going back upstairs for chapstick. Once I'm ready I walk for 1-2 minutes before I run and after my run I walk for 5 minutes and then stretch.
karinacocina karinacocina 4 years
i just jump right into my runs! don't really have a warm up or cool down
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