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Friday, February 12, 2016

Stretch like Meb

I bought Meb for Mortals for super cheap on this fall when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping (I did end up buying a Picture Bible for my little nephews, and then I felt all nostalgic and bought myself one, too. It's like a graphic novel of the Bible, and I grew up on that book. That's why I can spout some really esoteric Old Testament knowledge on occasion).
Also pictured: late night snack of pinot and cheerios and some rare glass bead throws - one I caught, the other my boss brought me! 

I really like Meb, and I think he's one of the smartest racers out there, but the book is actually pretty basic. There are not a lot of big surprises, but I guess that speaks to Meb's process: mostly common sense and hard work!

But I did like his section on stretching. Meb does a variety of stretching routines, depending on what workout he's doing, but that sounded like just the kind of complicated thing I would never remember to do, so I've been focusing mostly on his rope stretching. I bought a stretching strap when I had my first hip surgery and it was unbelievably tight and stiff. My PT's strap really helped me get a deep stretch, so I got one for myself on Ebay. Now, I'm using it for Meb's short routine. He stretches:
- hamstring
- lower hamstring
- outer hamstring
- inner hamstring
- adductor
- piriformis
- quad
I added to that hip flexor, since mine are about as tight as a  speed skater's suit. Now, Meb does these exercises PRE-hard workout and POST-recovery run, but I just do them post-run. Pre-run I do my myrtles and some other hip exercises, plus probably squats, lunges, bridges, and various injury-flavor-of-the-month work.

Hopefully I can stick with this. What stretches do you do, and do you stretch before or after you run?


  1. I think Meb adopted this from Phil Wharton's active isolated stretching routine:

    I bought this DVD a couple of years ago and do most of the exercises in it *after* track and my long run. It ends up taking about 20 minutes. I also intersperse it with foam rolling.

    Almost all of my runs are unfortunately SO early in the morning that I don't do much before, even though I know I should. I try to hop on the foam roller to roll out my glutes/hips/ITB for about 5 minutes before I head out the door. That's it.

  2. I'm in awe that you caught glass beads! And I'm so excited for Meb tomorrow, fingers crossed hard. I never stretch before, but do some short and informal stretches after most runs over 15 miles. I need to get better about it, I bet it would help.

  3. I bought a yoga strap recently (same idea) & I love it. I've found that my stretching is more effective if I do some rolling first, either with a lacrosse ball or The Orb, so that when I'm stretching I'm not fighting against the adhesions. I've been trying to at least roll & then stretch my hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, & quads after long or hard runs, and I think it makes a HUGE difference in how beat up I feel!

  4. I am kind of awful about stretching. I rarely do it before but when it's nice outside I do stretch afterwards. Right now it's so ridiculously cold that I get in my car right away (I'm typically driving to meet people to run) to get out of the cold! But I have been doing a lot of yoga so hopefully that counteracts my poor stretching habits.

  5. Looking at those pictures I'm pretty sure that Meb is way more flexible than me. Maybe if I increase my flexibility I'll be able to run like him.

  6. I am appallingly lazy about stretching - it'll probably take getting injured to motivate me. (Dumb, dumb, dumb.) I am trying. My favourite stretch is the hip flexor one I learned in yoga, actually - the instructor suggested I turn my foot 45 degrees out, move it out to the side a little, and put both elbows on the floor for a deeper stretch. (I can do this safely but YMMV.)