Tag Archives: yoga

Post-run Stretching

Post-run stretching is an essential part of running that many runners tend to neglect or rather, forget. ADMIT IT! YOU’RE ONE OF THEM. I was one of them too. Keyword: WAS! These days, I spend close to 20 minutes doing a full body stretch after my run!

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When to stretch?

Back in high school, we were always taught to do static stretching before any form of sport/activity. I always wondered why that whenever I stretched before my run, my muscles would feel extra stiff, almost immovable. I noticed that I felt better on days when I forget to stretch. Eventually, I stopped stretching altogether.

Only a few years later did I come across an article on how static stretching before a run/workout was not recommended. I was thrilled when I found out because I had experienced the negative effects it had on my own without being biased if I had known this fact beforehand.

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Before your run:

Never stretch cold muscles. Do a short warm up to get the blood pumping throughout the body. The warm up should involve the large muscle groups. It can be anything from a short jog to a quick ride on the bicycle. The warm up should be about 5-10 minutes before performing any form of stretching. A good gauge would be when you start to break a sweat.

Dynamic stretching (not holding each pose for more than 2 seconds) is the preferred form of stretching before any activity. It serves to activate the muscles, warming it and firing it up in preparation for the real deal.

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After your run:

Static stretching (where you hold a stretch pose for at least 30 seconds) signals the muscles to relax. This was the reason I felt like my muscles were immovable, because it was TOO RELAXED!

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The FACTS:

The 2 proprioceptors involved in stretching are the muscle spindle and the Golgi tendon organ. The muscle spindle is sensitive to the change in muscle length and rate of change in muscle length; the Golgi tendon organ responds to the change in tension and the rate of change in tension in the muscle.

When you stretch (increase the length of the muscle), the muscle spindle would resist the change in muscle length by causing the stretched muscle to contract as a protective mechanism to prevent the muscle from stretching beyond its breaking point.

When the muscle contracts in response to a stretch, tension is produced which are detected by the Golgi tendon organ. When this tension reaches a certain threshold, it signals the muscle to relax. Again, this acts as a protective mechanism by causing the muscle to relax before the applied force causes an injury. This is why when you lift a heavy object beyond your capability, your muscles react by relaxing thereby causing you to drop the object.

Stretching uses this principle: triggering autogenic inhibition via the Golgi tendon organ.

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How long should you hold a stretch?

At least 30-60 seconds. This allows time for the signalling from the Golgi tendon organ (causes the muscle to relax) to override the signals from the muscle spindle (causes the muscle to contract).

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Why stretch?

You may not realise it but your body works REALLY HARD when you run. You have no idea how many physiological changes are at play just by taking a few steps. With every stride, your legs flex and extend to propel you forward. This places a great deal of stress on your musculoskeletal system. Over time, tension and tightness in the muscles can build up, increasing the risk of injury and compromising your performance.

Runners are usually tight in certain muscles, mainly those of the lower body. Stretching after your run is a good way to regain muscle flexibility and range of motion (to be able to continue your active daily lifestyle and of course, more efficient running!)! Also, it prevents the pooling of blood in your lower limbs by improving venous return to the heart. This ultimately speeds up recovery by flushing out metabolic waste accumulated in your muscles during your run.

Plus, it feels REALLY GOOD. Need I say more? Get stretching!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Proper technique and form is KEY. Merely lifting your limbs to undesired levels of comfort, angles and height, pulling it here and there does not necessarily mean you’re stretching the intended muscle. Stretching takes focus and you have to KNOW what moves stretches WHICH muscle.

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Hmmmmm, maybe I’ll come up with a post-run stretch guide! What do you guys think?

Till then, have fun stretching!

 

Post-race Report: Larian Muzium 2014

How I got myself into this race is a story for another day. I’ll sum it up in two words: Surprised and Unprepared.

It was only 4 days after the Run 4 Peace race on Sunday. My right calf muscle and glutes were still screaming in pain. I gave my muscles a good stretch on Monday by doing 20 minutes of yoga.

On Tuesday, I put in a recovery run which turned out to be the worst recovery run ever. My muscles were so tight and so sore I could barely move. And because I was desperate to get my muscles up and running by Thursday (Larian Muzium), I applied the deep heat that I was allergic to (yes, I was THAT desperate) that afternoon and it BURNED my skin throughout the run.

My butt was still aching, it hurt to even sit. It was really the worst “easy recovery” run.

10309176_10152444799246388_239258535791479993_nBURN BURN BURN! Came home rolling on the floor in pain.

The Puma Running Club was cancelled at the very last minute on Wednesday. Just as well, another rest day!

The night before, I was so exhausted and tired (from work) that I fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillow. It didn’t feel like I had to race the next day. No sleepless night and no pre-race jitters.

I slept so well, I nearly missed my alarm when it rang at 5am. I was feeling lethargic and my head was so heavy, all I wanted to do was to go back to sleep. I had no mood to run at all. I was even tempted to take 2 pain killers before leaving the house. The plus side was that my muscles were feeling strong and ready to run! All I needed was a huge dose of adrenaline.

My dad agreed to drive me all the way to Shah Alam even though it was his birthday! Best Dad in the world. We arrived at about 5.45am and I went to collect my race kit. Spotted a familiar face, Shu Wei (Fellow Puma Pacer)! Had a pretty meaningful conversation over our “free” time (we had nearly 2 hours to kill) and did a mini (probably only 3 minutes) pre-race warm up run. He also pointed out who my competitors were. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Haaaaa! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know who I was up against. It was an open category which meant that I had to compete with the veterans too.

The race was supposed to start at 7am, but obviously it didn’t. I was feeling tired and hungry (I had breakfast!) and very impatient. The reality of being there probably hadn’t kicked in yet. At 7.25am, we gathered at the starting line. I told myself: “It is now or never. Nothing in between”.

When the starting gun sound was heard, the crowd was off. It was 7.31am. I think I started off a bit too adventurous. I was the first girl for the first 500m before the 3 elites overtook me with ease. I had my eye on Shu Wei but totally lost sight of him after 3/4KM (Haaaaaaaa!). Around the 5th KM, a phantom runner matched my pace and ran beside me. He looked at me and said that I was going too fast and that we should take it easy. I gave him a polite smile but I was thinking “Don’t mess with my pace, no way I’m slowing down!”. He was really friendly and I’m sure that he was just looking out for me (I hope).

After 6/7KM, another woman ran pass. You know, THAT feeling, I was pretty demotivated. I had to keep my mind together to press on for the last few KMs. I was so relieved when the finishing line was finally in sight. I saw my dad standing at the side, holding up his camera! I came in 5th. My watch – 8.16am. According to Shu Wei’s GPS, the total distance was about 9.7KM. 45 minutes, probably another personal best!

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There was a whole box of one of my favourite cereal in the goodie bag. And, there was a MILO truck!

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I guess my watch was pretty accurate!

I hung around the area and had my post-run snacks while waiting to collect my prize. Many seasoned runners came up to shake my hand to congratulate me and we exchanged a few words. It was pretty awkward because I didn’t know what to say. Managed to socialise quite a bit, something I don’t normally do.

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Trusty ol’ Puma Faas 300V2. Pretty satisfied with it. No blisters, no cuts.

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Post-run noms! Gotta’ eat what you’ve lost.

When I came home, I did 20 minutes of stretching to minimize/prevent post-race aches. Managed to put in a recovery run (a very good one) and a core session the next day. Post-race stretching really does wonders for you body!

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We all have to take good care of our muscles. Active prevention is always better than treatment. Make sure that you refuel, stretch and rest after a hard workout/race. Protein is essential for repairing those worn out muscles. Drink or eat them, just get some protein in you!

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Ahhhhhhhhhh! I didn’t know KT tape gives off heat! Has anybody else experienced this? My muscles felt so relaxed and oh so good! Oh, thanks to Zi-Shen (Fellow Puma Pacer and PARX teammate) for the KT tape! My muscles are loving it.

Well, it was definitely the best way to kick start Labour Day, doing what I love!

Every breath, every stride, all the pain and every moment you refuse to give up, you finish strong.