Static Stretching injured my lower back

I’m a runner and I do 3 to 5 miles 3 times a week. About 3 months ago I started doing a new static stretch in addition to my current routine. I stretch before and after my runs for about 20 minutes each time. The new stretch was sitting with legs out in front, touching my toes and putting my head on my knees.

About a month ago my back started hurting. Not during my runs, but outside of runs. Then a few days ago I was loading groceries in the car and bang. Severe back pain, so bad that if I sneezed my legs half collapsed.

I immediately stopped running and stuck to my stretching routine. No improvement. 2 days later I stopped stretching and within 24 hours a marked improvement and 48 hours later even more so.

A friend’s back was severely injured in a kiteboarding accident and shared his recovery story with me earlier this year at a skiing trip. Much of the recovery was strengthening his back muscles so they could re-support his spine. Interesting part was that right after the accident his back muscles went into spasm to protect his spine. Which indicates how important those muscles are to support the spine.

So I googled whether static stretching can weaken back muscles.

I ran across this: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/sports/playmagazine/112pewarm.html?_r=1

Turns out I’ve been working hard during the last 3 months to weaken my back muscles. So I’m seriously rethinking my stretching routine and will probably do the bare minimum to retain flexibility and focus on dynamic stretching as the article suggests from now on.

 

 

Running form

I’ve starting taking my running a bit more seriously this year, feeling the need for speed, so I’ve been looking at running form. My two favorite videos so far:

My favorite video – Ryan Hall in super slow motion with pretty much god-like form at the Boston 2010 Marathon. This video has caused me to completely adjust my form. Initially I’m focusing on landing without heel strike i.e. on a more flat foot and more forward lean with more pronounced kick as my foot leaves the ground. My shins, achilles and calves aren’t thanking me for the change, but they’re getting used to it quickly. The next goal is to focus on higher butt kicks which makes my leg a more efficient lever arm on the forward swing.

And Robert Cheriuyot who won the 2010 Boston (with an unfortunate slip on the finish line that resulted in a concussion) also showing perfect form.