A bit of advice...Please don't make the same mistakes I did!

As I am only just beginning Week 4 of C25K, it might seem a bit odd that I'm dishing out advice already. But I used to run quite a bit - albeit slowly and sporadically - and I have completed a couple of half marathons, the last one in 2011. The reason I had to stop was because my lower back, hips and large muscles at the top of my bottom pretty much seized up. The cause? Years of insufficient stretching, being to 'busy' to stretch properly after my runs. And when I was younger, I got away with it. Once I hit my 50s (I am now 54) all those chickens came home to roost.

So, please, if you want to carry on running happily and safely for years to come, make time to stretch properly afterwards. I really wish now that I had run for maybe 10 minutes less and used that time to stretch properly. If I had I wouldn't be starting from scratch now, always aware that I can set off my problems again unless I stretch religiously every single day. I notice that Laura tells you to have a drink and a piece of fruit after a run. She doesn't mention stretching, not at this stage anyway. But do it anyway - I promise it will be worth it.

12 Replies

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  • Never was a truer word spoken! I always do the stretches on the NHS Choices website after every run. They can be found here nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/... I haven't had any injury problems since starting the programme in September and I'm sure the stretching has been partly the reason for that.

  • Yes, the lower back stretch and bottom stretch in particular for me. When my problems were at their worst I couldn't lift my bended leg anywhere near my chest!

  • Thank you for the cautionary words. My body rebels if I don't have a stretch after my run. I have done many different exercises In The past and got away without stretching but I find running is different. Happy running.

  • This is excellent advice. I make myself stretch after each run. It really does help. I follow the NHS stretch after a run exercises.

    At present I'm injured, not from running. I believe I pulled a muscle during a fitness class. So I'm resting my leg.

  • Good advice YJB1 - I"m 50 and had 3 running related injuries last year. I also do various classes at the gym and recently added Purestretch class into my routine - so relaxing and beneficial.

  • fantastic advice, thankyou...and I am so lazy about stretching and I did start off doing the ones on the link here, but wavered. So next run I am so on it...thankyou so much for sharing, and good luck with the programme!

  • Defo good advice. I just used to do the warm up and down walks but now I just do lots of stretching before and after as otherwise my legs can hurt for a few days after. This way I find I can get out for my next run much sooner & I don't suffer with half the pain I used to. I only do leg exercises so might have a look at the link above to see what else is recommended.

  • My physio has advised me to do stretches before too , never have but injured tendons in ankle & he said I must do stretches before when I start back . I always stretch post run too .

  • Thanks, really excellent advice. I think that I had a bit of trouble by not stretching properly (if at all) after runs. I think that as we get older we seem to 'seize up' more easily! So, yes.......stretching every time now!

  • thankyou for that helpful advice. yes, the more i do the more my body aches the next day : {

  • I always stretch after a run otherwise I seize up. Also I often - and this is easier in summer than in winter - take Oldgirl's advice and run cold water over my legs before I get out of the shower.

  • One of the reasons I gave C25K a try was because it didn't involve any stretching. My health meant that it would be a choice between running *or* stretching (I can't even get changed in order to run - it puts me straight to bed, so if it is a run day I put my running kit on first thing) I do the 5 minute walk sandwich... and interestingly I have noticed the effect in my body if I have skipped it for some reason (which is rare). I can also think of one or two 'bad' runs and I've felt the urge to stretch afterwards.

    However, I do yoga now, at least 5 minutes every morning and that involves stretching the bits that running tightens up... and I don't run on consecutive days, nor on roads/pavements.

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