Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Running Economy and Static Stretching

August 20, 2015


Why to perform static stretching AFTER running:

The ability of an individual to reach maximal performance in distance running is determined by VO2 Max (the body’s ability to utilize oxygen), lactate threshold, and running economy. Running economy is determined by the oxygen cost to perform a given aerobic activity a sub maximum level. Similar to miles per gallon in a car, an athlete with a better running economy can sustain a given intensity and distance while preserving glycogen compared to a less economical runner. Prior research has indicated static stretching prior to a run will reduce running performance and should be replaced by more of a dynamic running warm up. In comparison, static stretching performed 2-3 days per week, 2-3 repetitions held for 15-60 seconds per stretch for muscles of the lower extremity after running. In practice we see a lack of hip flexor, quadriceps (rectus femoris), and calf flexibility to be some of the leading causes of mobility loss in a runner. This improvement in running mechanics will improve running economy in a runner leading to decreased injury risk and improved running performance. To learn more about the evaluation and treatment of running economy contact the experts at