Digging into the Supports

Although it has been on my mind, it is something I haven’t really taken the time to make happen. I am talking about the supporting pieces to this new lifestyle, such as stretching, strength training and eating well. Originally, I thought of these as the peripherals, but since that means minor or not as important, I realized I had to change the term.

This is new to me, parts that are just part of the program for other athletes,aren’t always even in my awareness.(Hey I called myself an athlete!!! Might be a little premature.)  Take stretching for instance. I know it is something I need to do, but I constantly forget or run out of time. Until I have a moment like today, where I can barely move my neck without fear of pain. Did it come from biking nine and a half miles yesterday? Or did it come from running this morning? (Yeah, I did two miles!!! Not back to back, but two miles!!!) Either way, even I know that I am suppose to stretch. I just forget, or run out of time. So I am dedicating part of every day to stretching. Maybe even yoga.

Of course, being me, the first thing I do is Google it. Well guess what! I am not suppose to be stretching, stretching is bad. At least not the stretching that I remember, static stretching. There is now dynamic stretching, a way to warm up your muscles before they work. Stretching when your muscles are cold can apparently cause injuries.

So when can you stretch? You are supposed to do dynamic stretching before the run. Here is a video I found on Runners World site. So on Wednesday, when I run again, I am going to try these. Of course this means getting up earlier, because otherwise I don’t know how I will fit it all in.

For biking, there is also debate on the stretching question. Dynamic stretching is recommended before – such as taking your legs through the same range of motion you will use on a bike. After biking, I found eight stretches on the site BikeRadar, (scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page) however, I don’t know when I will find the time to do them. The last one recommends staying in the pose for five to ten minutes; but on the whole 20 to 60 seconds per stretch seems the norm. The longer time is for improved flexibility, which is what I really want. But eight stretches at sixty seconds apiece, two to for times for each stretch leads to an average of twenty- four minutes. That seems like a lot of time, that I don’t have. So I found another site that only has four stretches on it. I think that I will use these four during the workweek and the eight for when I try to do the longer rides on the weekends. Here is a link to the four videos. Also, I read that it is recommended to stretch after you shower from your workout, when warm water will have helped to loosen your muscles. We’ll see how this all goes tomorrow.

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