I came back from my run this morning and in all the Monday morning chaos (trying to force 3 kids to have showers!) I forgot to do my stretches. I did walk the 1.8k to and from school this morning and my legs feel fine. So, do you really need to stretch at all?
Stretching...or not: I came back from my run... - Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K
My sports physio says that stretches are not necessary - the best thing you can do is a brisk warm-up walk and a brisk cool-down walk. I rarely do any stretches and I've yet to have a running-related injury.
I always stretch now. I didnt but had an injury so now i look after myself as much as I can.
I have always stretched after my runs as I found it helped overcome any stiffness. The ones I use are in the pinned posts on here.
That said, a decent long walk afterwards will probably do the trick.
Weirdly, my legs feel better so far than they do after stretching. How odd!
Nothing wrong with stretches AND walking, its what my PT trained son advises me to do. Not moving can lead to stiffness. The stretches will target specifics eg hamstring, quads etc.
I find I really need to stretch - both before and after my runs. My calves used to be agony before I started stretching religiously. Other muscles of mine seem fine if I don't stretch them. Like many parts of the programme though, we are all so different! I'd say what's most important is that we listen to our bodies and find what work's best for us. I'd always advise a newbie to stretch as, the way I see it, it's better to stretch and it not make much difference than not stretch and really need it.
I do the 5minute brisk walk for warm up and cool down. Before I start the first 5 minute walk I do the 5 warm up exercises on the runners world website runnersworld.com/the-body-s.... I only started doing them after I had a painful unexplained injury which left me limping around when walking and totally unable to run for about a two weeks.
After my cool down walk I then do the usual stretches, which I also do at the end of my gym workouts: hamstring, calf, quads. Then I also do triceps stretch, psoas, shoulders and chest (though these were recommended by my Macmillan physio because of my recent mastectomy, lumpectomy and reconstruction. But they are good at keeping my upper body and arms flexible (I can now put one hand over my head and down my back and the other behind my waist and up my back and link my hands together. Something I could never do before!)
I guess we all are different and our bodies have different needs. It's also what you're used to too.
I don't have much supporting data but I'm a believer in good stretching AFTER running. This is based purely on me having much reduced muscle soreness since I've stretched. On the one occasion I didn't because I had to rush to work I was a bit stiffer.... but this could have been psychological!
On the other hand, Mrs Onda has run for 10 years regularly runs 11miles and has never stretched OR warmed down (or up!).... but she's always been quite supple (unlike me)..... so who knows.
I tend to think of stretching it as a bit of extra gentle exercise that is PROBABLY doing you good, and done regularly and properly must have a positive effect on your flexibility.
There's a good article on stretching (... mainly on whether you stretch before exercise)on the NHS choices web site.