Friday, April 4, 2008
The Importance of Stretching
I have usually neglected to stretch. In fact, sometimes I purposely do not stretch before a race because it makes me feel as though my muscles are more responsive. Recently, however, with the increase in my triathlon training, I have encountered two injuries that could have been avoided through stretching exercises: an IT band injury and a torn calf muscle. The calf muscle injury is particularly disheartening because it keeps from racing in the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this weekend. I am upset, to say the least.
My injuries show that I am on somewhat of a steep learning curve with regard to my training. I was not a Division I athlete and therefore do not have a truly comprehensive understanding of athletics and racing. In fact, until recently, stretching was seen as somewhat of an annoyance, something that was tangential to my race goals and training schedule. But I am quickly seeing the error in my ways. Without stretching (or massages), I believe one is only able to perform up to a certain level, a plateau if you will. But in order to be at the top of the pack, small things need to be taken into account, things like hydration, sleep, and muscle looseness. These are things that can be overlooked by the average run-of-the-mill athlete, but not someone who is looking to outperform the majority of the competition. Best of luck to everyone who is racing. Dunno. These are just my thoughts.