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Dr. Lorenzo Lotti, Running coach

We spend our working hours in the office, sitting at a desk, in front of a computer. Or we work in a shop and spend a lot of our time on our feet. Or again, our profession requires us to drive for many hours, huddled behind the wheel.

Until, once the work day is over, we take some time for ourselves, lace up our running shoes and go out for a run.

After a day at work, what's the best way to start running?

When we ask our body to make physical movement after many hours spent in static positions, whether sitting or standing, it is necessary to carry out an adequate "muscle awakening" so that muscles and joints regain their elasticity. This also applies to those who train early in the morning, as soon as they get out of bed.

For this reason, a bit of stretching and an adequate warm-up are essential to restore the range of motion of the muscles and prepare them for running.

What to do before you start running after work?

Static and dynamic stretching

“Stretching is like oiling your muscles.”

The quote is from Dr. Nicholas Romanov, creator of the Pose Running method.

Stretching consists of lengthening your muscles (without exaggerating!) in order to promote their elasticity and range of motion.

Running is a plyometric sport: to advance, our muscles perform a continuous alternation of eccentric and concentric contractions. Let's take the muscles of the twins as a reference. When we impact the ground, the gastrocnemius contracts, lengthening (eccentric contraction), but when we jump to take the next step, it contracts, shortening (concentric contraction).

The more elastic muscles and tendons are, the more they will be able to withstand greater workloads and return energy better, making us go faster.

On the contrary, if the muscles are stiff, running becomes slow, tiring and... you risk getting injured.

To have good elasticity while running you don't need to become a master yogi, you just need to improve your flexibility with some exercises, many of which you can find on Instagram channels and Always Running YouTube.

When talking about stretching, we need to distinguish dynamic stretching from static stretching

Dynamic stretching involves movements in which joint excursion progressively increases, as does the speed of execution. The movement is always controlled and allows you to warm up very well, preparing the muscle for physical exercise, without running the risk of stretching it too much.

Static stretching, on the other hand, consists of maintaining a position for a few tens of seconds in which the muscle reaches its maximum stretch. The athlete reaches the position slowly but then, once reached, remains still for approximately 30"-40".

Dynamic stretching is the best choice at the beginning of training. Before even leaving the house, even before the warm-up phase, you can perform a small circuit of exercises that activate the muscles of the legs, core, torso and arms. An example of dynamic stretching are lateral openings, squats, lunges (also excellent for strengthening).

Static stretching, on the other hand, should only be done if the muscle is already warm, therefore at the end of the workout and never at the beginning. This is because if you stretch a muscle when it is cold you risk incurring a contracture or strain. The muscle may reflexively "react" by contracting rather than lengthening, or it may overstretch.

Imagine a spring that, instead of being compressed, is pulled beyond its elastic capacity. What happen? It no longer returns to its original spiral shape, but remains elongated, losing its ability to compress and expand. This is what happens when you do static stretching with cold muscles or if you overstretch.

To avoid this inconvenience, here are some precautions:

  • If you do static stretching, reach the maximum stretch position slowly, taking about 4".
  • You shouldn't feel pain, just a "positive" stretching sensation. If you feel pain, you are pushing too hard
  • Hold the position for 30 to 45 seconds, no longer.
  • Avoid stretching if your muscles are too tired
  • Absolutely avoid static stretching if you are in the acute phase of an injury: you could make the situation worse. It's best to do dynamic stretching or strengthening exercises, depending on what stage of recovery you're in.


A correctly performed warm-up involves physiological changes that are able to improve athletic performance and avoid the risk of injury.

Approximately 15 minutes of training at a gentle pace increases the temperature of the muscles by 3°C. This increase in temperature (mostly due to the greater flow of blood) leads to doubling or even quadrupling the amount of oxygen on which the body can rely to carry out the required exercise.

More oxygen to the muscles also means a decrease in the accumulation of lactic acid and an improvement in aerobic metabolism: fat consumption increases and muscle glycogen is preserved.

Furthermore, warming up avoids the risk of contractures due to a "cold" start.

How to do it correctly?

The warm-up should last between 15 and 20 minutes.

At what pace? There is no optimal pace. The race must be done at a gentle pace but not too much: you need to sweat.

Kenyan athletes run the first 2 km of each of their workouts at 6'/km (very slow, practically!), then increase the speed by 30" every kilometre, until they reach their training pace (and keep in mind that for all of them the slow pace is less than 4'/km).

Once the gentle running warm-up is finished, and before starting a training session, at least 6-8 stretches should be performed.

You stretch

Starting a training session at a slow pace and then gradually increasing the pace until you reach the desired pace for that specific workout does not produce the same joint adaptation that instead derives from performing a series of stretches, i.e. speed progressions lasting about 80-100 meters, at a fast but not exhausting pace. You don't need to reach your top speed (remember you're still warming up), but you need to accelerate with the idea that the stretch will "awaken" your muscles. If done well, stretches bring the same benefits as dynamic stretching.

The extensions should be inserted after the warm-up phase and before starting the actual training. In some cases, you may even want to insert them mid-session (for example, if you are performing a “progressive” and want to awaken your tendons before the change of pace).

The lengthenings performed during the warm-up phase should be 6-8. As a rough guide, the first one could be done at your speed over the next 10,000 m and the following ones a little faster (always without exaggerating!).


Before even starting a workout, to reactivate the elasticity of the muscles after a day of work or upon waking up in the morning, it may be useful to massage the muscles with toning massage Olio Strongful. It is an oil that provides the skin with a special mixture of nourishing substances which, in tests carried out, have proven to be dermo-toning. It is ideal for maintaining and improving elasticity; it firms the tissues and effectively counteracts states of relaxation and tonelessness of the epidermis. Sweet almond, wheat germ and carrot vegetable oils have a nourishing and restorative action, thanks to the contribution of carotene (pro-vitamin A) and vitamins E and F.

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