USATF is conducting a study to determine the effect of pre-run stretching on running injuries. The purpose of the study is to determine specifically if pre-run stretching of the three major leg muscle groups is beneficial for overall injury prevention or reduction. The study is not examining in-run or post-run stretching.
Many studies have been conducted to understand the impact of stretching or warm-ups on the risk of injury, but with conflicting results. A broad review of "stretching" has not conclusively determined whether a pre-run static stretch protects runners from injury during their routine training. See the Study Protocol for more information.
We are soliciting volunteers to participate in this study. Each participant will be randomly assigned to stretch or not to stretch before their usual running routine. Those assigned to stretch will follow a detailed protocol of stretches of the hamstring, quadricep and calf muscles for a total of 4 minutes over a period of 3 months. Participants are free to stretch as they normally would (e.g., post-run cool-down stretching), except during the pre-run period (when they must following the "stretch" or "no-stretch" protocol).