Friday, February 3, 2012

Stretching and Rolling

Should you stretch before a run? How about after? What's the deal with foam rollers and that “stick” thingie?

All of these are legitimate questions. And science doesn't really give conclusive answers.

I personally do not stretch. I occasionally use a rolling pin (in place of the expensive rollers you can buy from running stores) if I have an especially tight muscle. Instead of stretching, I prefer to warm up by doing whatever activity I'm about to do. For example, before running I walk the do a short, slow run. For ultras, I may just start the race with a walk.

I used to do extensive stretching before and after running, but I didn't see a significant benefit. It just took up more time.

I would recommend, like everything else, experimentation. Find a good stretching or rolling routine, do it for a few weeks, and see how you feel. If it improves performance, recovery, or you find it to be enjoyable, keep at it. If it doesn't do anything for you, drop it.



  1. I was shocked at the price for rollers as well in stores, but found this site which was about $8.00 after shipping/handling. Works well....

    BTW, just stumbled across your site as I'm looking at getting into barefoot running. Thanks for your work.

  2. I think good cross training choices can improve your range of motion without the need for traditional stretching per se. Many of the exercises at Pete Kemme's site will not only improve strength but also balance and flexibility in a dynamic way. I personally feel cross training can accomplish two tasks at once.

  3. Thanks for the blog, I've been enjoying the ride so far. Re: stretching, wanted to say that I've been doing the daily mobility wods that KStar has put out ( for just over 3 months now and think they are fantastic. Big increase in mobility in the hips and shoulders, and it's helped resolve some pains that were developing on long runs. It's stretching but not like I had ever done before, and it seems to really work.