5 Stretches to Do Before and After Running

As an avid runner and certified running shoe specialist, I can’t stress enough how crucial stretching is to your running game. It’s not just about prepping your body; it’s about preventing injuries and maximizing performance. Think of it like this: would you ever hit the gas in a cold car without letting it warm up? Stretching is your warm-up and cool-down, ensuring your “engine” runs smoothly and stays in tip-top shape.

Here are five stretches you should incorporate into every run:

1. How Can I Warm Up My Hamstrings Before a Run?

Standing Hamstring Stretch:

Remember those hamstring stretches back in gym class? Well, they were onto something! Tight hamstrings can lead to a whole host of problems, from lower back pain to strains. This stretch is your best friend. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Extend one leg slightly forward and keep your knee straight.
  3. Bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight.
  4. Reach down towards your toes, but don’t push it! You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg.
  5. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

2. What is the Best Way to Stretch My Quads Before Running?

Quadriceps Stretch:

Your quads are another muscle group that takes a beating while running. Neglecting them? Well, that’s a recipe for knee pain. Here’s how to show them some love:

  1. Find a wall or sturdy object to help with balance.
  2. Grab one foot with your hand on the same side and gently pull your heel towards your glutes.
  3. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

3. What Should I Do To Prevent Shin Splints While Running?

Calf Stretch:

Ah, shin splints—the bane of many runners! This stretch targets your calves, which play a key role in absorbing impact and propelling you forward:

  1. Stand facing a wall with your arms outstretched.
  2. Place one foot back, keeping your heel on the ground and your leg straight.
  3. Lean into the stretch, feeling it in your calf. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.

4. How Can I Improve My Hip Flexibility for Running?

Hip Flexor Stretch:

We spend a lot of time sitting, which can make our hip flexors tight. Tight hip flexors can wreak havoc on your running form and lead to pain. Here’s the fix:

  1. Kneel on one knee with the other foot flat on the ground in front of you.
  2. Push your hips forward and keep your back straight.
  3. You’ll feel a stretch in the front of your hip on the kneeling side. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.

5. What Stretch is Good for a Cool Down After a Run?

Gentle Twist (Spinal Rotation):

Don’t underestimate the power of a good twist! This stretch helps improve mobility in your spine and eases post-run stiffness. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Sit comfortably on the ground with your legs crossed.
  2. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, twist your upper body to one side, placing your hand behind you for support.
  3. Look over your shoulder and hold for 15-30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Remember: Listen to your body! You should feel a gentle pull with these stretches, never pain. Ease into each stretch, and remember to breathe deeply throughout.

Incorporating these stretches into your routine will not only make you a happier runner but also contribute to a stronger, more resilient you. Now, lace up those shoes and go crush those miles!


As a certified running shoe specialist and avid runner myself, I often get asked about the importance of stretching. Trust me, I get it! You’re eager to hit the pavement, feel the wind in your hair, and lose yourself in the rhythm of your stride. But hold on a second! Just like you wouldn’t drive a car without warming up the engine, you shouldn’t hit the ground running without prepping your muscles.

Here are some common questions I get about stretching:

  • Can I stretch anytime, anywhere? Absolutely! You don’t need a fancy gym or a yoga mat. Find a park bench, a patch of grass, or even your living room floor. The key is to incorporate stretching into your routine consistently.
  • How long should I hold each stretch? Listen to your body! I recommend holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds, but feel free to adjust based on your flexibility and comfort level. The goal is to feel a gentle release, not pain.
  • What if I feel pain while stretching? Stop immediately! Pain is your body’s way of saying something’s not right. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and consult with a medical professional if you experience any discomfort.
  • Should I stretch before or after a run? The answer is both! Think of it this way: stretching before a run is like warming up your muscles for a workout, while stretching afterward is like cooling down and preventing stiffness.
  • Can stretching help prevent injuries? While stretching alone isn’t a foolproof injury prevention method, it can certainly play a significant role. By increasing flexibility and range of motion, you’re helping your muscles work more efficiently and reducing your risk of strains and tears.

Remember, running is a journey, not a race. And just like any good adventure, it’s best enjoyed when you’re properly prepared. Happy running!

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