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Marathon Runner Prioritizes Stretching As Part of His Training

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Preparing to run a marathon is no easy task. It’s an experience that requires dedication, discipline, and commitment to one's physical and mental well-being. While challenging, running a marathon can be a rewarding experience! What makes it possible is how one prepares their body from building up endurance to stretching regularly. If running a marathon is in your future, a stretching routine should be as well!

Wise Words From a Marathon Runner

Chris C is a StretchLab member in Tampa, FL and has been running for 40 years. He loves that he can just put on a pair of shoes and be able to run in any city of the world. He has participated in 16 marathons and 4 Abbots with a goal of participating in his last two Abbots in Tokyo and Berlin. These are no easy feats and it comes as no surprise that training is important to Chris.

stretchlab member and marathon runner 

Chris cites cross training with cycling, swimming, strength training, consistent training, and assisted stretching as his secret weapons to staying strong and maintaining his longevity so he can keep running. "It is more important to be injury-free and rested” says Chris, when asked why he prioritizes stretching as part of his marathon prep. “I have learned to let my body rest more and stay limber.”

Many first-time marathon runners think their training only needs to focus on strength and speed. But many forget the role recovery plays in being able to train properly and optimize one’s performance! Runners like Chris that prioritize recovery are able to feel confident in their body’s strength and performance.

Why Stretching Should Be Part of Your Marathon Training

While the benefits of stretching may seem fairly simple, stretching can have a significant impact on the body’s ability to perform well. To run a marathon, you can’t only focus on being able to run long enough. You need to also focus on pace, form, and the body’s overall wellbeing - all of which stretching can help with!

STRETCHING FOR PERFORMANCE: You know that saying, “it’s a marathon not a sprint”? It means don’t overexert yourself. When it comes to a marathon, you are not trying to run as fast as you can for the entirety of the race. You’re pacing your stride so you can conserve energy. Stretching can help reduce tightness and soreness in the lower body. It also helps increase the flexibility and range of motion in the lower body, allowing the runner to maintain proper stride length so they have better control of the optimal pace they want to have during their run.

FORM: Another factor that impacts pace is form. Proper running form is essential to run efficiently and can help maintain a desired pace. Strength training can be beneficial in building up the muscles to hold the form, but stretching can help improve a runner’s posture, ensuring proper form can be achieved. When paired together, strength training and stretching can be extremely beneficial for a marathon runner’s race

RECOVERY: Lastly, ensuring your body is properly recovering from your marathon training will also have an impact on your performance. Giving your muscles the ability to recover will decrease your risk of injury, helping to prevent setbacks in your training. Your body also needs to rest which can be accomplished through getting enough sleep. Because stretching can help reduce soreness, you’ll be less likely to be kept up at night from the pain. Many StretchLab members report being able to sleep better after getting stretched!

WHY ASSISTED STRETCHING: Marathon runners could greatly benefit from an assisted stretch with a professional as they will be able to ensure the runner is stretching properly. At StretchLab, Flexologists are trained to customize stretches to a person’s individual needs and goals and can create a stretch plan for anyone training for a marathon. While you should stretch on your own, adding in an assisted stretch with a Flexologist will allow you to get a deeper and longer stretch, further optimizing your stretch benefits.

Preparing for a marathon and want to learn more about an assisted stretch? Check out a StretchLab near you!

Contributed by Chris C, member at StretchLab South Tampa

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