Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stretching Those Hammies After A Good Run

I had a really positive run this morning in downtown Omaha, NE, in spite of the 25mph winds.  I know, the Garmin printout below reads "10mph", but I think that's the info it gets from a weather service at the time you begin the run.  I checked immediately when I was finished and indicated 25mph with 38mph gusts.  They are calling for 60mph winds later today ... crazy!  "Need a little wind here." - Tommy Boy.  Downtown Omaha is fairly hilly, so when I'm in town on business, I use it as an opportunity for a hill run.  I had almost 1,300ft of elevation gain this morning which is great for a marathon paced run.  Anytime I can gain over 100ft per mile, I consider it a pretty good hill workout.

I feel like I'm gradually getting back into form, at least with my pace.  For my new "old man" age group of 45-49, to qualify for Boston I have to run a 3:25 marathon, or a 7:49/mile pace.  I seem to be able to hold that pace fairly easily right now, for a while at least.  The problem is, holding it for as long as I need to.  As I work my way back into shape, the endurance seems to be the toughest thing to regain.  The added weight obviously doesn't help either, but my diet has been much better this week.  So anyway, it was a positive run this morning in Nebraska!

Stretching Ham String Muscles
For as many miles as I've ran over the past few years, I've been very fortunate, and blessed, to not experience any major health setbacks or injuries.  Of course I still ache like everyone else from time, and even have little "trouble spots" that tell me something's a little off, or needs attention.  Probably the two main things I struggle with are adductor tightness and pain, and tight hamstring muscles ... and wouldn't you know it - one is a result of the other.

When I went to my A.R.T. doctor (a marathoner himself) last year for tightness, and a little pain in my groin muscles, he told me that many ... if not most ... of the issues he treats runners for are hamstring related.  He explained how the hamstrings affect the glutes, groin/adductors, and even some IT band & quadriceps issues.  He showed me a few stretches to perform after every run to effectively stretch them out.  When I'm consistent about doing them, my body seems to feel great, with no groin/adductor tightness or pain.  Awesome!  When I'm lazy or in a hurry, the uncomfortable feelings and issues creep in.

Lately I've been doing the "hurdler's stretch" a lot after runs.  Ya know, the one where you sit on the ground with one leg extended and the other tucked and bent to the side, like in mid flight jumping over a hurdle.  This really seems to isolate my hamstrings and give them the stretch they need.  I've noticed that sitting for long periods of time can cause them to tighten severely because they are in a constant contracted position.  So on log car rides, or after extended periods at my desk when I'm in the office, I try to frequently to stretch them out.

Anyway, just a little tip that really helps me stay lose and pain free.  For so long I neglected stretching my hammies, but when I really started focusing on them, my pain decreased, and running improved.  Hope your week and running are going well!
... be great today!


  1. I'm quite bad when it comes to stretching but I think it is way more important for fast runners like you. Slow running has its 32 years I've never had a muscle injury. I better keep it that way! Keep it going!

  2. that does it, I am never going to neglect my tight hammies again, they have been a problem for years, I wonder if they lead to all my problems

  3. Jim I also have a Garmin XT and like it lots. I saw on your blog you put your Garmin Connect page on your blog. Any advice on the best way to do this. Kendall

  4. good post... and a good reminder to stretch the hams...

    as for the sitting I don't sit much unless I travel. I've had a standing desk here at work for 2 years now... much better

  5. Ugh, wind. We had crazy headwinds on our bike ride to Hermann and they just suck the life out of you.

    You definitely got a good hill without!

  6. Kendall - I just "print screen" and then save it as a jpg file, but if you click on the activity, and then view details, there is a "share" icon toward the top left of the page - if you select that, you can copy and paste the "embed" like - but I can never get it to work in Blogger, probably something I'm doing wrong - but it's much easier than copying and pasting.

  7. Thanks Jim! I will give it a try.

  8. It's interesting to hear that the hamstrings are a common source of problems to runners. It's where I've had issues in the past and have to manage carefully.

  9. I've been trying to keep up with my hamstrings per your prior advice. I also have groin pain, and the link between the two is what reminds me to stretch my hamstrings.

  10. I have hamstring, knee, ITB, hip, calf, adductor, groin, back and psoas pain. So I stretch my hamstring and it should take care of everything? :-P How I WISH! I hate stretching. I need a magic wand.

  11. I stretch every time after a run. I preach about it to everyone. I think it's one of the best ways to stay injury free.

    Isn't it great to be able to run during a business trip? I like the change of scenery.


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