I think most people underestimate the value of stretching. Today I went for a 3-mile run and frankly didn’t stretch well enough first. I didn’t injure myself but it took me a lot longer than it should to warm up and I was fairly slow.
I’m going to try and make a point to do some easy stretching at least twice a day. Even if just the major muscle groups I think it will improve my flexibility and maybe my circulation too. Certainly it can only help make me a better runner.
Quick comment on stretching: beware of "ballistic stretching" which is the bouncy stretching that a lot of folks do. If it’s not done properly there is an increased chance of injury and you run the risk of actually tightening your muscles that way. Static stretching, where you slowly move into the stretch and hold it while you inhale and exhale deeply is safer and I think, more effective. Try moving slowing into your stretch, hold it, take a deep breath and as you exhale slowly push the stretch just a little bit further.