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The most important thing you need to know about stretching is this: it is good for you. The second most important thing to know is that the word "stretching" refers to many different types of exercises that do many different things to the body. We just need to understand what to do, how to do it - and when. The ongoing debate in the scientific and running communities about how an athlete should approach stretching is sometimes taken as a sign that there are no significant benefits to increased flexibility. It just isn't true. The truth is that stretching is a complicated topic but understanding and applying the science of flexibility and proper warm up techniques is essential if you are going to improve your performance.
Stretching is a regular part of the training program. Every Hill and Speed session includes a light warm up run or walk followed by a series of stretching exercises leading up to the high intensity portion of the workout. This allows us to make the transition to a higher intensity workout without "shocking" our bodies.
Improving flexibility in key parts of the body can be essential in maintaining good running and walking form and staying healthy. This lecture is a great opportunity to ask an expert about what stretches will work best for you. The session will have you go through various stretching routines appropriate to your training goals with a focus on keeping you healthy.
Q: I hurt myself during a run yesterday, will stretching help?
A: With a recent or acute injury now is probably not a great time to start stretching. Stretching the injury now, may contribute to more tearing in the muscle, ligament or tendon. An obvious sign of this is an increase in pain after stretching. Wait for a reduction in swelling before attempting to stretch it out. As always, with any injury, make sure you see a qualified physician (hopefully one who runs or understands the special needs of runners) as soon as possible.