I love stretching after my runs. I always stretch at least 10-20 minutes after each run, no matter what distance. I have been doing the same stretches in the same sequence since high school, holding for approximately 20-30 seconds. They seemed to work.
When I got a massage a few weeks ago, at Tri Therapeutic Massage, I explained an issue I was having with my butt/piriformis/upper hamstring/or something in that vicinity. After some poking around, we narrowed the issue down to a cranky (tensor fascia latae) TFL. After a glorious hour-long massage, Sherry, my massage therapist introduced me to some Active Isolated Stretches (AIS) to target that TFL. I have been doing these stretches consistently for the past several weeks and I can not believe what a difference it has made in the way I feel. When I was just doing my static stretches, I was still sitting on tennis ball for a couple hours a day. Now, since doing the AIS, I maybe pull out the tennis ball once every few days for 10 minutes and that is only when I have been sitting at my desk for hours on end.
What is Active Isolated Stretching?
I am not going to go into too much detail about the science behind AIS. You all know how to Google, but Stretching USA has a good, high level explanation. Basically, you hold each stretch for only a couple seconds. This improves circulation and increases the elasticity of muscle joints and fascia. Here are some videos of my favorite stretches.
This guy makes it look easy, but it is tough! When I practice my routine, there is much more grunting, groaning, a tear or two but it really has made a difference in how I feel. It's worth giving it a try!