Peace at Hand's Healing Blog

Training Tip for Runners #1:

Posted on April 20, 2010 in: Advice - Tags: running, AIS

Stretch well, and stretch your whole body:  Ask any runner whether they stretch after a run.  Most of them will get a little shifty eyed and guiltily admit that they don’t.  If they do stretch, they often say they don’t stretch as much as they should, or that they only bother with their legs.  Somehow, these folks can find a way to carve an hour out of their day to run, but can’t find the extra ten or fifteen minutes to properly stretch afterwards.

No runner wants to hear this, but the fact is that it is better to run for slightly less time and stretch properly than it is to run for longer and neglect stretching.  Stretching can prevent cramps and strains, increase flexibility and fluidity, help maintain proper postural alignment and reduce the effects of lactic acid build-up.

Not only is it important to stretch, its important to stretch the entire body.  Although it is easy to focus on the legs and glutes--running’s powerhouses--running is a full body workout, and there is a natural connection between our shoulders, arms and back.  The stress of running can cause our shoulders to contract and elevate, the motion of the arms can tax the back, and the impact of running can compress the lower back and spine.   Somewhere down the line, the foot bone is, in fact, connected to the head bone.

Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) can be a great solution for a reluctant stretcher.  Designed as an athletic stretching technique, AIS targets specific muscle groups with a series of facilitated stretches to lengthen muscles and restore flexibility.  In many cases, clients perceive a change in the way they feel immediately, and over time it is possible for AIS to rehabilitate and restore overused and poorly functioning tissue. 

AIS can be incorporated in to a sports massage session, or serve as its own therapy, and practitioners are able to provide clients with take home stretches to continue the work between sessions.  Over a series of 4 to 6 sessions, clients can expect to see increased flexibility and fluidity, decreased muscle fatigue during runs, and in general, less soreness and stiffness.