Stretches and Strength Training for Running

by Fiona

I have finally found my running regime, and so far so good. Thanks for all your help. so far. I'm running Mon Wed Fri six miles and Tue and Thur I run four miles. This is all on the treadmill. And so far it's going well.

An odd time I get a little ankle pain and I have found I struggle with stretches. I don't know how long should I stretch before I run for and not sure what are the proper stretches.

Also a few people have told me I should do some strength training as well. Do you know what the best strength training exercises are? I'm running a while now and I find the muffin top is very slow to tone up and other parts of me.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Fiona,
Thanks for the running training question... again!
It's great to see you progress so well.

Stretching is important. It's a bit of a misconception though that stretching before you run is important. In fact, stretching cold muscles can do more harm than good. Stretching is best done after running.

I have got a pretty standard routine that adresses most major leg muscle groups. You can find it on my running stretches page.

These stretching routines will help protect you against shin splints, achilles pains etc, but will also help keep you flexible.

It is important to do stretching and some self-massage to keep that flexibility. If you don't and your muscles start getting tenser and tenser you can get problems, especially in "connecting" areas like ankles and knees.

Regarding strength training:
Strength training or any other form of cross-training is a good idea if you can add it to your current fitness regime.

You are in it for weight loss. Running is one of the best ways to lose weight. Studies have shown that running with some strength training combined can be even more effective when you want to lose some pounds.

I would recommend doing some body weight exercises and some weights a few times a week. You can do push ups, sit ups, plank, dips, squats, burpees etc. (google them if this sounds like Latin to you). This alone would give you a pretty good workout.

You could add some simple dumbbell exercises. But find out what you like to do, e.g. pilates, aerobics classes etc are all great cross-training alternatives. Also see Cross Training for Runners.

Hope this helps.
Kind regards,

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