Stretching exercises for running

Stretching is hugely important to reduce the chance of injury, increase your range of motion (and therefore speed and endurance) and is often overlooked, to relax your mind after a great run!

Why is stretching important?

Stretches before running have several important benefits. Regular stretching will increase your flexibility and increase your range of motion. Preparing your muscles before you go out for a run is likely to improve your overall performance. When you stretch, blood flow is increased to your muscles which reduces the likelihood of injury or muscle pains. Stretches after running will help with your recovery time and prevent any muscles spasms or aches the next day.


Stretching exercise for running

Stretches before running don’t have to take long, but you will thank yourself for doing them. Most experts recommend at least 5-10 minutes of warm up time. This gives your body time to get the blood flowing through the body before you put it under any kind of stress. This goes for stretches after running as well. If you run frequently, it is important to make sure you look after your muscles are a run.


Best stretches for runners

There are two types of stretching you can do before running. Static stretches involve moving to a stretch position and holding it there for a period of time. Dynamic stretching means moving your joints or muscle in motion for a number of reps.

There are several key areas you want to make sure you stretch before running:

Quads – Start by standing upright and pulling your left foot back with your left hand. As you pull your leg you should feel the tension in the top of your thigh. Hold for about 20-30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.

Hamstrings – Sit on the ground and extend one of your legs. Tuck your other foot in so the base of your foot touches your thigh. Then lean forward and reach for your toes. Try to lean forward without bending your back. Hold this for 20-30 seconds and then do the same for the other side.

Calf – Stand with one foot in front of the other with both feet facing forward. Gently bend your front knee while keeping your back leg straight and heel on the floor. Hold for about 30 seconds with your front knee directly above your front foot and then switch over.


For more information about stretching exercises for running visit our tips and advice page. To get involved in one of our local running groups search for a group near you.

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