Stretching Before Running – Forget What You’ve Been Taught

The Particulars: More than 70 million people throughout the world run recreationally or competitively. Recently, there has been controversy about whether or not frequent runners should stretch before running or not at all.
Data Breakdown: Of 2,729 runners who run 10 or more miles per week and participated in a study, 1,366 were randomized to a stretch group, while 1,363 were randomized to a non-stretch group prior to running. Runners in the stretch group stretched their quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius/soleus muscle groups. Stretching before running neither prevented nor caused injury. The most significant risk factors for injury included a history of chronic injury or having suffered an injury in the past 4 months, higher BMI, and switching pre-run stretching routines. The risk for injury was the same for men and women, regardless of whether or not they were high- or low-mileage runners, and across all age groups.
Bottom Line: Stretching before running does not appear to prevent or cause injury in people who run 10 or more miles per week.

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