Mythbusters - Stretching Edition

One thing you should know about team scrappy is that we are a couple of old souls. My music of choice is circa Duke Ellington, and Gered spent 2 years organizing trips for old fogies... tip of the ice berg.

When it comes to training, we're both the same way. Wanna get fast? Work hard - no special tricks, no fancy swim suits (which will be banned in 2 weeks anyway), no need to upgrade bikes, just work hard and push yourself. When it comes to nutrition, you can see from Gered's last post, that we're all for Will's (our coach's) dietary instructions. Keep it simple - fresh and wholesome foods. No fancy supplements, calorie counting, or weighing our meals. When it came to stretching we were both old-fashioned too. Flexible is good. Stretching is important. Apparently, that philosophy is all old-school too - at least when it comes to running fast.

Phys Ed: How Necessary is Stretching? is a blog post put out by the New York Times that follows up on a flexibility/running efficiency.  Basically what the study showed that a persons level of flexibility is relatively unchangeable. The amount of time and energy it would take to actually lengthen your muscles is more than the commitment is worth, and the effect isn't even permanent. Apparently, most stretching doesn't lengthen more muscles, it just increases the muscles tolerance for being stretched - a tolerance that only lasts an hour or two anyway. The biggest kicker though was this, the research asserts that runners with less flexibility in their hamstrings actually ran more efficiently anyway! There's much more to the explanation, and I would encourage you to read the article (and perhaps even the research findings) if you want to run fast, but here's the short sweet break-down. If you can touch your toes, or come pretty close, you're flexibility should not be a major concern in your training. Regular light stretching after a workout is fine for maintenance and injury prevention.

Well golly gee! (That was a closing intended to be fitting with the old souls of team scrappy - in case you didn't catch it.)