Stretching for Runners

Running is a sport that anyone of any age can enjoy whether it's a gentle jog, 5 and 10-kilometer fun runs, or the serious effort involved in half and full marathons. Supportive running shoes, comfortable kit, and maybe the backup of running apps that keep track of your pace and fitness is the only equipment needed. Despite this ease of access, however, many people find themselves suffering from muscle and joint-related injuries.

This is because they ignore the importance of warm-ups and cool-downs as well as the value of stretching for runners both pre-and post-run.

The Benefits of Stretching

Even the gentlest of jogs works your muscles and joints and when you exercise, muscles shorten and become less flexible. Over time, this leads to a decrease in mobility. The simplest way to avoid this and ensure you can enjoy running for years to come is by developing your own stretching routine for runners. The benefits of stretching include the avoidance of patellofemoral pain syndrome or 'runner's knee' and weakness and pain in the hips caused by damage to the iliotibial band (ITB). A flair-up of these problems can prevent you from running for lengthy periods of time. Use our exercise suggestions to put together your own stretching routine for runners and not only will you remain injury-free, but your running efficiency and times should improve. These tips also apply to treadmill runs.

Stretching Before Running or a Race

Stretching for running beginners is particularly important before a run or race and can be easily incorporated into your warm-up routine. Start with a brisk walk or gentle jog. This increases your heart rate and respiration as well as speeding up your metabolism and promoting blood flow to your joints and muscles. Then ensure your major groups of leg muscles are prepped for a run with the stretches below.

Discover the benefits of stretching before running or a race

Stretching after Running or Race

Many runners and experts feel that stretching after a run is even more beneficial for reducing the risk of injury than stretching before a run. Post-run, your muscles are warm and flexible, allowing you to achieve a greater range of motion with your stretching. This, in turn, leads to improved and longer-lasting flexibility. Static stretching for runners post-run also decreases the likelihood of painful cramps while preventing stiffness in the hours and days that follow your run.

The Best Stretching Exercises

We've put together six of the best exercises for stretching before or after a run or race. Most don't require any equipment but introducing some rope stretching for runners can make your muscles work that little bit harder. We recommend repeating each stretch two to four times. This helps increase the blood, oxygen, and nutrition flow to your muscles.

Quadriceps Muscle Stretch

The quadriceps femoris muscle covers the front and side of the thigh. If you want a routine that includes stretching for runners’ knees, this is a good exercise to incorporate.

  1. Stand upright
  2. Use your right hand to pull your right leg up behind you
  3. Tuck in your pelvis
  4. Keeping your knee pointed towards the ground, pull your shin in towards your thigh
  5. If balancing is tricky, support yourself with a chair
  6. Hold for a few seconds
  7. Repeat with the other leg
Try the best stretching exercises for quadriceps muscle
  1. Hamstring Muscle Stretch

    Your hamstring muscle runs from the hip to the knee and stretching it is also a good way of avoiding knee injuries.

    1. Sit on the ground
    2. Extend your left leg out in front of you
    3. Tuck your right foot as high as possible into the inner thigh of your left leg
    4. Bend forward from the waist
    5. Reach for the toes of your left leg
    6. Hold for a few seconds
    7. Repeat with the other leg
  1. Calf Muscle Stretch

If calf muscles get too tight, you're at risk of them or your Achilles heel tendons tearing. If you're doing this exercise properly, you'll feel the stretch from the back of your knee down to your ankle.

  1. Stand upright with your right foot slightly behind your left
  2. Bend your left leg while keeping the right leg straight
  3. Keep right foot firmly on the ground
  4. Keeping your back straight, hold for a few seconds
  5. Repeat with the other leg
  1. Iliotibial band (ITB) Stretch

Your iliotibial band is a long stretch of connective tissue that runs along your outer leg from the hip through the knee and down to the shinbone. It's vital for knee stability and a full range of hip movement.

  1. Stand near something stable for balance
  2. Cross your left ankle behind your right ankle
  3. Using your right arm for balance, stretch your left arm over your head
  4. Lean forward and stretch towards your right side until you feel a good stretch in your left leg
  5. Hold for a few seconds
  6. Repeat on the other leg
Try the best stretching exercises for Iliotibial band
  1. Gluteal Muscle Stretch

The gluteal muscles or glutes stretch across the buttocks and are vital for strong stable running. Try working them out properly with this rope stretching for runner’s exercise.

  1. Lie on your back with legs straight
  2. Flex left knee at a 90-degree angle
  3. Place a Technogym elastic band around your mid-foot
  4. Hold both the band handles in your right hand
  5. Using your left hand, support your left leg at the thigh
  6. Contract your abdominal and hip muscles and use the band to pull your left knee towards your right shoulder
  7. Hold for a few seconds
  8. Repeat with the other leg
  1. Spina; Stretch

Running on harder surfaces such as sidewalks, tracks, and very hard grass can be stressful on the spine leading to tightness and pain. Avoid this with a spine stretch.

  1. Lie on your left side
  2. Keeping your left leg straight, bend your right knee up until it touches your chest
  3. Rotate your right leg until your knee touches the ground
  4. At the same time, rotate your right arm, upper back, and head to the right
  5. Stop when you feel a stretch
  6. Hold for a few seconds
  7. Repeat on the opposite side

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