Training: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Stretching?

And I also introduced the boy to trail running.

I’ve noticed that as the weeks pass and the mileage requirements grow, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with stretching. I’m not just talking about giving the quads and achilles the old once-over after a run. I’m talking about long, deep stretches, as much as I can handle.

With the holiday, I didn’t make it to the gym for my usual Monday workout. With my husband out of town, Tuesday night’s Team run (hills!) was also out of the question. I merged the two on Tuesday morning:

  • 20 minutes of upper body weights
  • 20 minutes on the elliptical at the highest resistance that I could tolerate (18, which felt like a steady, uphill slog)
  • 30 minutes of stretching, both with and without the foam roller

On Wednesday, I went for my weekly Pilates session with Mercy. Ever since my injury last year, my sessions have been less about classic Pilates abs and strength and more about active stretching. I often leave her studio with spaghetti legs, like I’ve just taxed my body to the extreme. Yet thanks to these exercises, I know that I’m keeping my hips, back, IT band and hamstrings in the best possible shape to keep me going. The older I get, the more I understand just what it is that Dara Torres goes through each day, and why she needs the amount of stretching that she does.

On Saturday, I met the Team out in Richmond for 10 miles along the bay. Ignoring my technical glitch (guess who forgot to restart her Runkeeper?) which bothered me more than it rightly should have, I completed 9.4 miles at a nice, slow pace, and even had enough left in the tank to add in a bit of a surge for the last mile. I felt tired afterward, naturally, but not that tired. Had you told me that I still had to run another few miles, I probably could have grabbed a GU and done it. Not a bad position to be in with five weeks to go until race day.

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