You’ve got your shoes on, you’re wearing your Crazy Compression socks and you’re ready to hit the pavement for your next run. Before you head out of the door though, have you considered whether your body is up to the task ahead? Have you already warmed up before your jog? And what about stretching - should you do this before or after your run?
While there are differing opinions on warming up before and/or after a run, most runners will tell you that both are important in their own ways.
What should you do before a run?
Prior to running, you want to make sure that your muscles are prepared for the task ahead. By doing a good warm up, you help your blood vessels dilate and increase the oxygen flow to your muscles. Your muscles will also increase in temperature which will help your muscles stretch to their fullest capability. By warming up prior to a run, you are essentially giving your body a “heads up” of what may be coming next. Slowly raising the heart rate during your warmup will create less stress on your body and heart when you begin your run.
What are some good ways to warm up?
Try walking briskly, marching in place, doing some light aerobic exercises, cycling and maybe some dynamic stretches. Stretch your muscles through their full range of motions by doing jumping jacks, lunges, touching the toes and deep squats. Focus on an 8-10 minute warmup before your run.
What should you do after your run?
How you take care of your body after your run can be just as important as before your run. You never want to just abruptly end your run, instead, you should decrease your speed and finish with a cool down that consists of a light walk and more dynamic stretching.
Post run stretching is great because your muscles are already warmed up and this can help with flexibility and muscle recovery. Try basic stretches like calf, hamstring, quad, butterfly and hip stretches. While some research shows that stretching before or after a run doesn’t have a drastic effect on the body, stretching post run feels great because the warmed up muscles are extra flexible and ready to go; many experts still recommend it! A deep, good stretch often times feels refreshing and like the perfect way to end a successful run.
We also recommend keeping your compression socks on post-run. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, compression is great for muscle recovery after a run. Compression socks improve the circulation of blood within the legs based on their design. They provide graduated compression, which means that they are tightest around the feet and lower legs since these are usually the most affected areas when it comes to swelling.
Whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to protect your body, especially your muscles, while running. Hopefully with proper care, some good looking Crazy Compression socks and consideration to your muscles, you’ll be running for many more years to come!