Conventional wisdom of the past was to stretch before you ran. The problem with that is stretching cold muscles can lead to injury. Today, most sources suggest warming up before running and saving the stretching for after the run. We believe in that, too. What many in the field recommend for a warm up is a short run. If you are just getting started with this program, a short run may be your entire work out. Kind of defeats the purpose of a warm up. Instead of a warm up run, we suggest doing a few jumping jacks, walking on you tippy toes (don't you love our techie speak?) and plain old walking. A minute or two should be enough (unless you plan on doing speed work, but more on that later).
As noted above, today's wisdom is that stretching your muscles after a workout is the way to go. Stretching after you run will help you recover faster. Believe it.
There are different theories about how to stretch. For example, some suggest that holding a stretch for a minute go. Others seem to feel that short bursts are better. One constant is that you don't want to do a quick, hard stretch as that too can cause injury. A gentle pull of the muscles is what you are looking for. We suggest you experiment with the time you hold a stretch, but 10 - 30 seconds per stretch is a good starting point.
You want to stretch all of the muscle groups in your legs including quads (thigh), hip flexor (muscle connecting leg to torso), hamstring (back of thigh), gluteus (butt) and calf. You may find different stretches better hit your muscles. Make sure you stretch each group.
Check out our most recent success story from Laura from Reston, Virginia.
Hello! I am another success story! At least a success story in progress - very slow, but steady progress. I came across your website about 18 months ago. I was walking almost every day, and hit a plateau. But I hated running so what was I do to? I looked at lots of websites about how to start running, and they all had one thing in common - to start running you had to already be able to run a mile, run for 20 minutes, etc. Seriously? If I could do those things I would already be running! I couldn't run 1/2 a block or even 20 seconds! It was very discouraging. In frustration, I googled "I hate running" and your website popped up. I read through it and thought "Well, I can do this - I can run for 5 seconds or 10 seconds or 10 paces." So that is what I did. The first time out, I ran for a total of 45 seconds in 15 second bursts, during a 30 minute walk. A humble start, but a start. Now, 18 months later, I am up to 4 miles of running. I'm not fast, but I'm running. I have done 2 5k's and will run another one in a couple of weeks. I can't say I love running, but I love feeling better, looking better and the feeling of accomplishment I have every time I finish a run. My friends are astonished! And I sing the praises of your website. Thank you for giving me a way to be successful! There may even be a 10k in my future - or maybe a half marathon - who knows?