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Trinity College Dublin

Dublin University Harriers and Athletic Club

Active Isolated Stretching

Done correctly, it will improve flexibility and aid recovery, allowing you to train and hence compete at a higher level.
Injury Prevention. Exercise causes muscles to contract / shorten, leading eventually to tight muscles followed by injury.
Before: you do a session, but after you have done a warm up jog so as the muscles are supple.
After: All training sessions, no matter how short or easy the session may have felt, or how tired you might feel.
The End Aim:
To make training more enjoyable and to get more benefit out of your training.
Take your stretching seriously. Commitment to training means commitment to every aspect of training, including stretching.
How To Do It:
All of the information you need is in an article on Gerard Hartmann's website, this is the same article as the "Hope on a Rope" Irish Runner article. (There is also a local copy of that article.)