Welcome to our monthly newsletter -- How to Eliminate Stretching After Running!
We hope this article helps you run without pain and soreness so you never need to stretch again!
I am very excited this month as I am working on my first e-book titled, Running Injury Free: 5 Unconventional Ways to Enjoy Pain Free Running. I will be giving it away free to all of you (all subscribers to this newsletter) as soon as it is available. It should be ready within a few weeks. Keep an eye out for it in your inbox!
Do you think stretching after running is necessary? It is probably necessary if you feel soreness after running, but why do you feel sore after running? That is probably the question that needs to be answered.
I used to be a totally dedicated stretcher. I would stretch all the time--at my desk at work and many times throughout the day. I would even spend a number of hours stretching at night while listening to music or watching TV.
When I think back to all the stretching I used to do, I think I must have been mad! But in my own defense, I always felt sore after running. The muscles in my legs, hips and butt were constantly aching. Although I didn't get much relief from stretching, I felt like I was at least doing something to try to ease the soreness.
Today, I can happily say that I never stretch after running or any other time. I don't get sore after running so I really have no need to stretch.
So what has changed and why do I no longer feel soreness after running?
The change started when I began doing lessons in the Feldenkrais Method 6 years ago (in 2009) for chronic lower back pain. Twice a week for 4 months I attended Awareness Through Movement classes with a Feldenkrais practitioner.
The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic (bodily) education using gentle movements and concentration to improve how you move. Your ease and range of movement, flexibility, coordination and efficiency of movement improves as you follow instructions to complete specific movements to help you rediscover your innate capacity for ease of movement.
The Feldenkrais lessons helped me overcome my chronic back issues completely (I no longer experience any back pain). However, it has also taught me how to move better and with greater ease in all activities including running! The Feldenkrais Method helps us to move better by developing our body awareness. And I am totally convinced that developing body awareness is the key to running without pain and soreness! When you learn how to get into your own body, feel how it moves and allow it to relax and let go of tension, you won't feel pain and soreness after running.
The main reason we feel soreness after running is because we hold tension in our bodies that we are not aware of. Developing a strong awareness of your body will help you become aware of this tension or tightness so you can more easily release it and improve your range of motion.
If you are not breathing properly while running, it can also cause tension in your body as discussed in last month's newsletter. Improve how you breathe while running so you are more relaxed and your body is less stressed.
So how can you develop your body awareness? The Feldenkrais Method is one way and I highly recommend it. You can search for a practitioner near you from the Feldenkrais Guild of North America (worldwide). There are also various books and lessons available online and some are specific to running.
I personally used the book, Running with the Whole Body, and found it very helpful in applying the Feldenkrais principles to running. However, I would suggest having the exercises in an audio version for ease of use. Your can buy the audio version of the exercises or create your own using the script in the book.
"Each one of us speaks, moves, thinks and feels in a different way, each according to the image of himself that he has built up over the years. In order to change our mode of action, we must change the image of ourselves that we carry within us."
-- Moshe Feldenkrais
A body awareness meditation can also help you develop body awareness. Try the short free body awareness meditation in this article on Body Awareness. There are also specific types of meditation that can help develop body awarenss such as Vipassana Meditation. This type of meditation teaches us to focus on and release discomforts in the body.
Mindful running is another way you can become more aware of your body, how it works and how to correct imbalances in your movements. Your full focus is on the present moment--your breath, your heartbeat, your footsteps--uniting your mind and body in easy and efficient movements.
Developing a strong sense of body awareness has many rewards. It helps us get to know and learn from our own bodies. Eventually you will probably eliminate soreness after running and the need for stretching after running. You will also enjoy much more positive running experiences.
When you place your attention on your body, you become focused and present to the moment. It is when you are present in running that all positive experiences occur. It is when you lose yourself in time and effortless running, it is when you will experience runner's high and it is when you will have your best runs ever!
Increase your body awareness and eliminate soreness and the need for stretching after running.
So how about you? Do you feel soreness after running or not? Do you feel stretching after running is necessary? We would love to hear from you. Please add your comments/opinions in the Comments section below. Thanks for reading!
Happy running folks!
As always, keep running, smiling and be happy and peaceful!
With love and peace,
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