We all know that stretching is a fundamental part of athletics, but in many cases we don’t know why it’s necessary, or when or how we should do it.
WHY IS STRETCHING SO IMPORTANT?
Do you think you can skip stretching? No training session begins or ends without stretching! Here are 5 reasons skipping stretching should never cross your mind again:
Stretching favors muscle and ligament elasticity. It helps to avoid the natural tightening caused by intense athletic activity.
Stretching prevents injuries.
Stretching prepares the body for a huge physical exertion like a marathon.
Stretching improves circulation and reduces muscular tension.
- Stretching improves our mobility, which will have a noticeable influence on our performance.
WHEN IS IT IMPORTANT TO DO STRETCHING EXERCISES?
It is essential to always stretch before and after training.
Before: stretch with extreme caution, because the muscles will still be cold and fragile. Stretches should be progressive, with no pulling or bouncing.
- After: stretching will help to avoid muscular tension and allow you to return to a relaxed state.
Stretch all of the main muscle groups and don't forget any of them! These should be light stretching exercises that you hold for 15 seconds while elongating the muscle beyond its natural length.
We can complement our daily athletic training sessions by doing 10 minutes of extra stretching exercises before going to bed. Stretching before bed will speed up muscle recovery and help us sleep better.
HOW SHOULD WE STRETCH?
Important: we recommend working all muscles directly or indirectly involved in the athletic activity we are performing. It’s not a good idea to repeat a stretch of the same muscle group, because we run the risk of overdoing it, especially if we do so before training.
Also, even though you’ve certainly heard the opposite, you never need to feel pain while stretching. Reaching the point where you feel moderate tension in the muscle is enough.
And last but not least: be very careful with bouncing stretches! They can cause injuries. If the muscle doesn’t have enough time to adapt to the elongation it is forced into, we run the risk of hurting ourselves.
Now that you know everything about stretching, download here the training plan for the fourth week of preparation for the marathon challenge and put everything you’ve learned into practice.
Remember that if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. Come join the great Siroko adventure!