Smoked hamstrings and back pain: can I stretch out of it before my marathon?

hamstring stretchDamn this woman (pictured) can stretch. I on the other hand cannot (see below). When I took on my first, and so far only, marathon in 2008 I paid for my tight hamstrings. By mile 18 they were smoked. My lower back was in agony and the pain was shooting down my legs. I necked a few ibuprofen and paracetamol and jogged/walked/hobbled the final eight miles to the finish line.

Next April I will take on the Brighton Marathon, the first major landmark in my quest to take part in the 2018 Marathon des Sables. And this time I want to run every single mile and smash the rather embarrassing five and a half hours it took me to complete my last one. Training, nutrition and nailing my diabetes management will be crucial. So will ensuring my hamstrings are up to it.

So I’m starting a stretching programme. Stretching already takes up a lot of my time– I do three sessions a day on my frozen shoulder and another on my hip flexors – so on my physio’s advice I’m going to keep the hamstring stuff simple: a single session every day of three minute-long stretches on each leg, one to each side and another straight up (pictured).

hamstring stretchWell, as far up as it will go, which as you can see isn’t very far at the moment. I can barely get it past  45 degrees. This worries me. I don’t want my hamstrings to contract further when I start upping my mileage. So daily hamstring stretches it is for me from now on. If anyone has any tips on how to best to improve hamstring flexibility they would be gratefully received.

Will check in over the next few weeks with a progress report.

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  One thought on “Smoked hamstrings and back pain: can I stretch out of it before my marathon?

  1. Kareem
    July 18, 2015 at 4:52 am

    A great stretching technique is a contract-relax method called PNF. Basically you stretch your hamstring the way you are doing it now. Then you contract the antagonist muscle for 10 seconds. You relax then pull your leg back further. This works best with a partner, or you can do it with a towel. After completing 3 sets you will notice you can stretch much further.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 18, 2015 at 6:54 am

      Thanks for the tip! I will give this a go and let you know how it goes! Cheers, DDR

      Like

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