A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stretching My Goal

This time last year I made it my goal to be able to execute and hold the above Pilates move. It's typically called a teaser or a v-sit. And it's HARD. It requires ab strength and hamstring flexibility. Both of which I lack.

I never did accomplish this goal before I moved and stopped taking my Core & More class. A few times here and there I got close, but was never able to hold it for more than half a second and never with my legs full extended.

Now I'm taking Pilates again and interestingly enough I've found that my core strength is returning rather quickly. There are still things that are difficult for me and the teaser is still one of them. However, my current Pilates instructor builds up to the position by having us do it with one leg raised at a time before we raise both legs. I've found this easier to approach. In fact, last night I almost held the full teaser for more than half a second before my hamstrings informed me that they would not be stretching out anymore, thank you. And believe it or not, it's still hard to balance even with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle.

The weird thing is that I can touch my toes and, on a good day, I can even put my hands flat on the floor. In this position I can get my butt all the way against the wall without feeling much of anything. But ask me to do any other position that stretches my hamstrings and I suddenly become the least flexible person ever. Especially if it requires stretching both hamstrings at the same time.

I don't do a lot of stretching post-run and I don't do any before my runs. There are conflicting schools of thought as to whether stretching before or after a run really helps or not. After most runs I do a few stretches (calves, quads, IT Band, hamstrings) but I probably spend less than 5 minutes stretching. Perhaps if I ever want to achieve my goal of holding the teaser position I need to start stretching more. Either way, I'm not giving up. I may run a marathon before I can hold the teaser position, but I will do it!


Anonymous said...

We've been doing that in my bootcamp workout, but call it snow angels. Same move but sweep your hands above your head to your sides before contracting. They are TOUGH!

BTW... I'm Dave... http://rpemax.blogspot.com/

Lindsay said...

I don't have any flexibility in my hamstrings either. I've been told that I can achieve it if I do more exercise, like the one with the wall photo above but blah, I can never remember to do them or feel like doing them!

I also don't do any stretching pre-run and not much after. And I'm usually fine. Well, except for my really long runs then I do my calves & thighs that's about it though.

I'm glad I'm not the only one, on both accounts!

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