-Which is better, treadmill running, or running outside?
-Should I stretch before or after running? -What are your thoughts on barefoot running or the Nike Free shoes? I've heard that no shoes or shoes with less cushioning will improve your biomechanics. -What should I be eating before and after runs? That's all I've got! Thanks for your time:)
I'll go through these one by one.
Running outside is much better than running on a treadmill. For one, you burn more calories outside, especially when the weather isn't "room temperature." There are two situations when I do suggest running on a treadmill though. If it's too dark, or if the weather is dangerous for running outside, use a treadmill. Other than that, get outside. They don't run races on treadmills (or at least none that I am familiar with).
You should do dynamic stretching before a run, and static stretching after a run. An example of dynamic stretching would be to do some high knees, or some strides to get warm. Static stretching, where you hold a stretch for a period of time actually takes some of the spring out of your step, which helps you run faster. Static stretching after a run helps to keep the legs from tightening up too much.
Barefoot running is really tough. It takes a lot of time and patience to really get into it. I prefer running in minimalist running shoes, so go that route. Work on your form as much as possible though. You should land midfoot first with lighter, minimalist shoes. Increase your stride rate, hold good posture, and land with your knee slightly bent, with your midfoot hitting first, and not your heel. No shoes do improve your biomechanics because landing on your heel or with a straight leg on pavement hurts! You have no other choice but to adapt the correct stride.
I made a video about what to eat before a race. Basically keep it light and simple. After a run, eat lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. You can sneak in a little meat here and there, but that is just to get some protein. Don't overdue it with anything fried, canned, or food coming out of a box.