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Hi all,<br>
Here's an interesting article from the New York Times.<br><br><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/health/nutrition/13Best.html?_r=1&nl=8hlth&emc=hltha4&oref=slogin" target="_blank">http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/he...a4&oref=slogin</a><br><br>
Yours in running,<br>
Susan
 

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I read this article yesterday and thought about posting it. I have never been flexible and my coaches and gym teachers tried to make me so. But alas it never worked. Now I seldom stretch and when I do it is very lightly in my calves after my warmup. I never stretch after a run or race; just a cool down.
 

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Personally, I think there's a certain amount of flexibility that a person should have, based on their genetics and frame, that is the optimal amount for that given person. Having too much range of motion around certain joints is just as bad as not having enough. Maybe because the general tendency has always been to get stronger more than anything else, the encouragement to stretch more has been instituted as an overcompensation device? Really, all we need is to be balanced in all parts of the fitness package: strength, cardio AND flexibility, each on its own merit as a goal. Flexibility training shouldn't be considered the "bandaid" of the other two.<br><br>
Just my 2¢ as a personal trainer and yoga teacher. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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I've talked to several elite level coaches who believe you should NOT stretch. You might be surprised at some of the well known distance runners who don't stretch, or stretch very little. For a distance runner, the belief is stretching causes more injuries than it prevents.<br><br>
For a sprinter, there is evidence that not only stretching, but warming up at all, will make you slower. One top sprint coach told me that stretching and warming up makes you loose. That is the last thing a sprinter wants before a race. The muscles should be tight and ready for explosive activity, not loose and relaxed. He did believe in some limited stretching only after working out, and it would seem this logic would apply less (if at all) to a distance runner.<br><br>
Personally, I've stopped stretching completely, as I've found it made my injury problems worse instead of better. However, I do very extensive warming up before any hard running, and I've found that very necessary.
 

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I'm not sure about the injury thing, but for me stretching helps my muscles not be so sore after a run. I feel stronger for my next run if I stretch after the previous. I also feel like stretching after a warmup improves my race performance. There are about a billion questions left unanswered...since avoiding injury may only be part of the benefits of stretching.
 
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