02 Oct Flexibility Will Improve Your Running: 5 Reasons Why
Marathon amateurs, long time runners and newbies have a few basic running goals in common; to build endurance and increase the speed of their running. Although these goals are necessary to keep you motivated through your running program, most people miss the most essential cornerstone of running, which is flexibility training.
Stretching has been a routine that has been preached to us from our early days at gym class. But sometimes due to the lack of time or incorrect running information, we tend to miss adding this vital component to our running plan. In this article, you’ll learn how becoming more flexibility will help you reach your running goals while keeping you safe.
The honest truth
One thing any runner will tell you is that although running is rewarding, it isn’t completely injury free. Injuries from running are so common that one study reported that nearly 79% of runners are injured every year. No matter, how much you invest on a good pair of running shoes, running gear and the perfect running app to ensure you reach your goal safely, injury in most cases is inevitable.
Unlike strength or functional training at the gym where our bodies perform a various range of motions during a standard 60 minutes time frame, while on a run, we are repeating the same movement over and over again. When mimicking the same movement, we tend to add trauma to our bodies and this can result in injury.
Staying safe while running
Given the hectic lifestyles we lead, we do put in some time and effort planning out our runs with our goals in mind. Any injury during your training phase will put you off your goal instantaneously as you have to rest it out.
How can we add a layer of safety to our training to ensure we keep our running plans on track? By working on our flexibility! Read on to find out how becoming more flexible will improve running and add plenty of good miles to your running game.
1. Move better, move faster
Keen on improving your performance while running? Then flexibility is a key quality that’s essential and will help you reach your goal faster. Stretching regularly increases flexibility and range of motion, allowing for a stronger stride. Tight hip flexors will reduce your stride length as well as decrease the power generated by your extensor muscles. Since your running speed depends on stride length and stride rate, or how frequently you take a stride, more flexible hip flexors can help you to run faster.
2. Bounce back quicker
Love running and want to run more? The best way to have consistent runs is to stay injury free and recover faster. Running has plenty of benefits like increased cardiovascular circulation, better metabolism and more, but the flipside is that it also puts your body in a state of stress. That is why recovery is essential between runs. Stretching in turn translates to better blood flow to areas that are stressed and prone to injury. Therefore, with stretching your body is not only able to recover faster, but you’re able to reclaim a full range of motion after a long run, much quicker.
3. Posture Perfect
We hear this so often in running forums, the importance of correct running posture. No one must compromise on their form while running as it only damages your body in the long run. An inflexible body is stiff in areas, and this stiffness restricts proper movement and posture, which is crucial for safe runs. Becoming more flexible will allow you run to move freely. Your body will be more relaxed and in turn have better form. This is an important quality in every good runner’s arsenal.
4. Sore, no more!
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? A great adrenaline-filled run yesterday can leave us sore today. But with better flexibility, this can not only be avoided, but also prevented in your future runs. With flexibility training included as your post run practice, you won’t be struggling with sore muscles the morning after.
5. What back pain?
If you’re a runner with a desk job, then you need to be weary of the dreaded lower back pain. Take, for example, the muscles that are attached to your pelvis, such as hamstrings, hip flexors and others. Inflexibility in these areas can cause the lower back to tighten and feel tense and uncomfortable. As you become more flexible through regular stretching, these muscles will be relaxed, which in the long run, will lower the risk of lower back pain. Of course, less back pain = happy running.
There’s so much to gain by adding a small yoga routine or dynamic stretches to your daily runs. Flexibility training is simple and a little time invested is beneficial for the long run. So the next time you finish a long run and want to throw in the towel, roll out your mat and practice some simple stretches as a reward to yourself.
How to become more flexible
We are on a mission to help runners run faster with the help of yoga, so we’ve created a 3-day yoga for runners challenge. It is a free challenge that will help you breathe better while running, relieve tight hips and hamstrings, and recover quicker after runs. Only 10 minutes per day for 3 days and instructional videos are delivered to your inbox. If you haven’t joined this challenge yet, you can sign up here.