Okay, a quick background....

Been running for about nine months, run four mornings a week and have built up the mileage in that time from around three miles per run to six miles each day.....On the weekend I do a nice slow longer run of approximately nine miles.....Recently been competing in 10k events and have managed a best time of 53mins37secs, bearing in mind I was seventeen stone when I started and am now thirteen stone image I run to lose weight and keep fit and have really caught the running bug !!

My question revolves around stretching....I've already done a bit of research on types of stretches and the frequency at which I should be doing them and to my mind I just haven't been stretching enough, usually for around five mins before running and a little warm down walk after the run.....

I recently started to get some outer knee pain at longer distances so have started incorporating more stretches involving my IT band in the hope of alleviating the issue, it only crops up now and again and only twice in the last two weeks. Started the new stretches yesterday....

I'm gonna see how the stretchies go, and I'm now stretching for twenty minutes a day after work to help with my flexibility and muscle strength....Does anybody think this is too much ? and do I have to link my stretches in just before or after my run, or can I do them anytime like I am at the moment, after work ?

Thanks for any help and advice offered....


  • Stretch straight after a run is best I wouldnt bother before but you have to fit it in when you can too and I wouldnt be doing 20 mins every day at least straight away as stretching is just as likely to injure you if you do too much too soon. image

  • Yep, what Leslie said. Best to stretch soon after a run and whilst you're still warm. Avoid stretching cold muscles, so no static stretches before a run, just start running slowly (although some people will advise dynamic stretching before a run).

    You really should rest ITB problems until they don't hurt, and work out why you have them. Something in your biodynamics may need fixing. May need a physio for this.

    Amazing weight loss and good to hear you are enjoying the runningimage

  • As a guideline, stretches after a run should only be performed to get the muscles back to a pre-run state, and for this you need to hold the stretch for about ten seconds. It's particularly important not to stretch for too long after a hard session, since by doing so you will cause further damage to your muscles and prolong recovery time.

    Separate flexibility sessions are fine, just try and keep them separate from your running sessions. I don't know whether or not 20 minutes per day is enough to improve long-term flexibility. I would have thought a little more is necessary, but a lot will depend on your sex, age and genetics. I've heard that it's necessary to hold a stretch for x seconds to improve long-term flexibility, where x ranges from 30 seconds to 90 seconds.

    I'd also be wary of over-stretching an area that you're experiencing problems with. I've found in the past that stretches can be really useful for alleviating pain and aiding recovery from an injury/niggle, but you can overdo it and aggravate the problem.

    If you're really interested in stretching then I would thoroughly recommend the book "The Anatomy of Stretching". It's a very detailed book with diagrams and suggestions for stretches for various injuries and sports.

  • Great progress so far.

    The pain on the outside of you knee definitely sound  like your IT band. If it is then stretching won't fix it, at least not alone. And don't just do nothing as it won't magically get better. Definitely don't run through it either.

    I've had it on both sides. Tried loads of different things as there is so much conflicting advice out there. In order of how well they worked for me (or appeared to work, anyway), my suggestions would be...

    • Get properly fitted shoes from a running shop,
    • Buy a 'tiger tail' and have someone roll your IT band (very painful but I think effective)
    • Buy a foam roller and roll it yourself
    • Hit the gym to strengthen your glutes
    • Sports therapy massage


  • If you want to develop flexibility, then I would recommend Pilates sessions. You want a small class to ensure you get lots of attention from the instructor.

  • +1 for foam roller.

    Its worth mentioning that the IT band isn't really stretchy - its made of cartilagy stuff not muscle. You can target stretches at the structures that attach to it though. I have found that stretching the hip flexors is key for me.

    Improving core strength and stability is really important for ITB probs, especially targetting glutes and abdominals.

  • Thanks for all the input image I'll be a bit more mindful with the stretches from here on in and box clever when doing them, especially after my runs....

    I'm gonna try the foam roller techniques as they seem very popular.

    Paul thanks for the heads up on stretching not really doing much as I would have been endlessly playing twister for hours with no good effect ! I had shoes fitted a few months back thankfully so I don't think its that.....I find it odd how it only comes on during some runs, I can happily run some days with no pain, no nothing, like yesterday and today, it'll just happen one day, although I'm hoping it won't !

    Lets see how it goes, got a Christmas 10K in Margam park on Sunday and not had any issues this week.

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