Couch to 5K
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Stretches, 5 minute walk- do I really need to bother?

When I was doing Laura's podcasts I faithfully completed the 5 minute warm up/cool down walk. Now that I am running furthur I don't want to "waste" time walking so I've been skipping the walks. At Parkrun I see others undertaking a wide variety of stretching exercises.

So which should I be doing? Walk or stetches? Or do I need to do them at all? Some say stretches are not necessary. Am I compromising my health or running by not doing them?

What's anyones experience?

5 Replies

A lot of people disagree about the necessity or not to stretch before a run. I'm really overweight, so I do think that a 5min brisk walk to warmup works better than stretches. At least in my case. I do them at the end of my workouts anyway, after my 5min cool down walk. So far, I've never felt pain or been injured, only felt a slight discomfort in my muscles during my rest days so I don't think I'll change this routine now. I'm no expert at all, it's just the way it works the best for me.

Good luck! :)


Before the 5x50 started I was troubled by an old hamstring problem and had groin strains. I thought this would be the thing most likely to stop me completeing 5x50 so I have religiously done 5-10 mins walking warm up and then the calf, thigh and hamstring stretches (from s&F podcasts) .... It's become part of the process so I would be reluctant to start without doing them now.


I think it is all down to each individual, fitness levels, how long you have been running for, injury problems,.....

I have been running now for almost 9 months, injury free (I do consider myself very lucky!) and dont do any warm up walk prior to my runs. This doesnt have any detrimental affect on me at all. I also dont do stretches before a run now but ALWAYS 10 mins afterwards when my muscles are warm. Stretching cold muscles can do damage so I presume those at the Parkruns have warmed up first, maybe by walking to the park......

I put this all down to just being fitter and running regularly for a good while now but when following the program I would always include the walk. After graduating, for a while I would do a 5 min warm up indoors following an exercise DVD followed by stretches but gradually this has stopped.

I think you just need to go with what feels right for you as you will no doubt get a variety of answers to this one!



Many thanks for the advice. i had thought stretches before might have improved my performance but was confused about their use and advantage. So far injury free so I think I'll stick to how I'm going.


I still faithfully do the 5 mins warm up walk and cool down walk but no stretches and it's worked for me so far (touch wood!). I do find it harder to get settled into the run without the walking, though it could be partly psychological like so much of this running malarky.


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