Since I am in no position to be able to afford my own running coach, I’ve been trying/testing my own theories when it comes to running to see what works and what doesn’t.
Until today, I was a firm believer in static stretching before a run. I have always ALWAYS done static stretching before my runs to prevent the miserable IT band syndrome that is my nemesis. Until today, static stretching before runs has always worked for me, despite the overwhelming evidence/advice to stick with dynamic stretching before any run.
Today was the longest run of my training program to date, 7.29 miles to be exact. I felt sure that the amount of static stretching I did for my hamstrings, quads, gastroc/soleus, IT bands would be enough for me to get through the run easily. Hmmm…. not so much.
I started off great, with a 9:05 mile pace for the first 3 miles. I felt on top of the world, because this pace is what I need to accomplish a half marathon in less than 2 hours. However, when I got to the halfway point of my run, it was time to turn around, and BAM - wind in my face for the entire run home. Wow, how I felt like an idiot for a) not realizing that the wind was carrying me for the first half of the run and b) not preparing for or predicting the fact that the second half of a “longest run” is more difficult than the first.
I just want to emphasize that in no point of my run was I “tired.” Nope, if my joints didn’t hurt/ache, I could have run so much further/faster. I am disappointed to say that the second half of my run was ran at a 10:30 mile pace and I really wish I could have stuck with the 9 minute pace. I will blame it partially on the wind, but it has now come time for me to admit that static stretching prior to a long run is NOT the way to go.
Ok, I’m on the bandwagon. Let me review all of the dynamic stretches ever pictured in every issue of Runner’s World, every book I’ve ever read, every website I’ve ever visited, because I’m going to have to finally convert myself to the world of dynamic stretching :/ I really don’t want to dig out the foam roller for my IT bands and spend 15+ minutes in my gym working out (ok STRETCHING) prior to my runs, but if I want to finish them with my full potential, rather than having any injuries or soreness, I guess I better suck it up.
One more lesson learned in an effort to become the best running coach I’ve ever had.