Old habits die hard. At least they do for some runners when it comes to stretching.
Anyone who’s been running a few years will probably have been brought up on the pre-race stretching ritual: find a wall or fence, plonk your foot on it and stretch the hamstrings for a while, then maybe stretch the calf muscles, and don’t forget the quads too.
Despite modern advice conflicting with this approach it is still easy to find runners performing static stretches before they race.
Well I guess it depends on your approach, but if you see any of your rivals doing this, then let them continue. A study entitled: “Effects of Static Stretching on Energy Cost and Running Endurance Performance, (conducted by Wilson, Jacob M; Hornbuckle, Lyndsey M; Kim, Jeong-Su; Ugrinowitsch, Carlos; Lee, Sang-Rok; Zourdos, Michael C; Sommer, Brian; Panton, Lynn B) analysed the results of trained male runners over an endurance run of 60 minutes, both with and without performing static stretching.
The results showed significantly greater performance and significantly lower energy expenditure for the non-stretching condition.
There are of course, sound reasons to include flexibility conditioning in training, but anyone who performs static stretching before racing should be asking themselves why they are doing it at that particular time.