REM Runner’s New Year’s Resolution

I hate stretching.  Always have.  Always will.  Some runners never stretch – I used to be one of them. Unfortunately, I learned the importance of stretching the hard way… (A story I’ll share in a future blog post). For now, let’s just say – if I somehow manage to cross the finish line in April, it will be as much of a testament to my disciplined stretching routine as my disciplined running routine.

What is it I hate about stretching so much? For one thing, I find it incredibly boring.  When I feel like exercising, I want to get outside and get sweaty, not sit around touching my toes and counting to 30. Stretching takes a form of patience that doesn’t come naturally to me.

Worst of all, the benefits and progress of stretching are subtle and intangible. Even though it looms over me that if I don’t stretch, I’m much more likely to get injured – the threat isn’t quite eminent enough to force me into action daily.

For me, the running is the exciting fun part of this journey. Although the long runs can be tough, they are satisfying in a very real way.  When I report, “I ran X number of miles today!” I quickly receive congratulations and gain respect.  Somehow, reporting that “I stretched my quads, gluts, and IT bands today!” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Therefore, in the spirit of the New Year, I resolve to formulate a legitimate stretching routine and add it to my marathon training calendar.  One idea I have to try and incorporate stretching into my daily life is to stretch while watching mindless television.  With an unhealthy addiction to MTV’s Jersey Shore and new seasons of the Real World Washington D.C. and the Bachelor starting up, this plan should leave me more limber than ever…  We shall see.

If you have any other ideas for how I can make stretching less evil, please let me know.  Happy New Year!


  1. tflygare on January 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    "Stretching while watching mindless TV" is good resolution, Julie. But what if you stop watching mindless TV, will you also stop stretching?

    I also hated to stretch — did very little of it in my running career, although no one did much stretching back in those days. I wish I could say we didn't have mindless TV back then, but we did. So I really have no excuse.

  2. Alex Schmitz on January 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    try yoga!

    i used to struggle with stretching too. was just too boring … never really took it seriously and after years of long distance running started to have all sorts of troubles from tight muscles and connective tissue.

    just slip a couple of yoga sessions into your weekly running routine … will work wonders (not to mention all the other benefits of yoga!)

    good luck with your training and your race in april. just watched the 2009 women's finish on you tube … amazing stuff …

  3. Melissa Maxim on January 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    If it was me, I would skip the running part and just do the stretching. I LOVE stretching! Many years of ballet might have something to do with that.. Try to get your breathing in tune with your stretching and it will feel wonderful. One of my favorite stretches is letting your head and arms hang over with your legs apart a few feet. Just breath in and out slowly as you feel yourself relax into the stretch. It really feels good. And remember the cardinal rule of stretching.. it should never hurt!

  4. Christine on January 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    You have inspired me to stretch more! I am lazy about stretching regularly too. We should try to do it everyday!

  5. Amanda on January 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STRETCH! When I was running long distances (around 13 miles) I never did it. Then one day I actually tore my IT band (a very rare and strange thing to do) because my quad muscle was tight and as I hit my stride my body literally tore my IT band out of place because my muscles were so tight. This was the end of my distance running career and have had problems for years afterward (even had surgery on it). STRETCH STRETCH STRETCH!!!!! BTW, love the jersey shore.

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