Recently we covered the question "should I stretch before I run?" in our weekly Ask the Doctor series. OrthoCarolina physical therapist Chris Gabriel's answer was yes, but he recommended dynamic stretching and foam rolling pre-run and static stretching post-run.
Many people are unfamiliar with dynamic stretching. Basically, it's combining movement/momentum and stretching. When you statically stretch you hold a stretch for a set period of time. With dynamic stretching, the stretch is short and combined with movement. This is ideal because it brings more blood flow to the area you're stretching and prepares the body by simulating some of the movements you will be performing in your workout.
Dynamic stretching is always my warmup of choice with my personal training clients and CrossFitters. It's the most functional way to prepare the body for the demands you are going to place on it through your workout. Save the static stretching and long holds for your post-workout recovery.
I put together a short video demonstrating a dynamic stretching routine that you can do in less than 5 minutes before heading out for your next run.
Give it a try and let me know if you have questions or feedback!
Jen DeCurtins is the content manager for Run Charlotte Run. She is a certified personal trainer, 200-hour registered yoga teacher, CrossFit coach and food and fitness blogger at Peanut Butter Runner.