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7 Extremely Effective Stretches for Runners!

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If you hope to keep yourself injury-free, committing to doing some of the best stretches for runners consistently is a great decision.

Why Is Stretching So Important?

First, stretching can help to avoid injury. It does so by preparing your muscles to move and flex. A dynamic warmup has you doing active stretching so that your body is warming itself up while also stretching things out. 

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, elongated, and healthy. These are all integral components to staying injury-free.

Stretching can improve your range of motion and prevent limitations that can result from tight and inflexible muscles.

Often people fail to recognize the role stretching can play in helping to prevent soreness. This is why stretching after running is important. Helping your body cool down is another crucial addition to your workout regimen. 

Did you know stretching can improve stamina?

The more you stretch, the better for you because you will reduce fatigue while exercising. The reason behind this is that more oxygen flows through your blood efficiently. Thus you can endure more.

Lastly, stretches boost energy levels and increase your alertness. When fatigued, muscles tend to tighten, making us more sluggish. So to help you become active again, try out some stretches.

Is It Better to Stretch Before or After Running?

Runners should stretch before and after running to keep their bodies in the best possible condition.

Pre-run stretching should include dynamic stretches, and only after the body is ready for it you can add static stretches to target areas of need.

Post-workout, you should also do a cool-down easy jog or run and then stretch.

When you are ending your workout, your body is better able to handle the basic type of stretching we all remember from physical education class. 

7 Ways a Runner Can Increase Flexibility

1. Knee Hug: This is a great runner stretch. Lie down on your back and pull your knees up toward your chest. Pull from your shins or ankles, so you are pulled into a “tighter hug,” and hold for 30 seconds. Relax.

knee hug stretch

2. Standing Quad Stretch: Stand with your feet slightly apart. Lift your right foot and grasp it behind you with your right hand. Pull gently so that the bottom of your foot touches your butt. Switch sides.

Standing Quad Stretch

3. Toe Touch: Stand with your feet slightly apart. Reach down and attempt to touch your toes. Hold for a short period of time, then relax. Repeat.

Toe Touch

4. Wall Push: Stand facing a wall with your hands at shoulder height, touching the wall, an arm’s length from your body. Take a step back and push with hands.


Press the hands into the wall and push your heels onto the floor until you feel the stretch in the right calf. Repeat sides.

5. Calf Stretch Raises: Stand with your feet slightly apart. Raise your heel up, so you are on the ball of your feet, and hold briefly before you lower your heel. Repeat.


6. One Leg Standing Hamstring Stretch: Stand straight with one heel resting on an item like a tool or curb. Keep your knee straight. Keeping your lower back straight, lean forward toward the foot on the item. Feel the stretch in your hamstring?

One Leg Standing Hamstring Stretch

7. Seated Twist: Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bring your left leg over the right leg. Place the left foot on the floor and bend the left knee.

Use your right arm to gently press your left knee as you twist to the left. Hold, then release and repeat with left hand and right knee.

Seated Twist

Should Runners Stretch Every Day?

We all should stretch every day, but we should also eat our greens and drink more water.

Do we always do these things?

If you stretch on days you run, you will be doing your body a huge service.

If you could make one small change in your life that would make a big difference in your running and overall wellness, it would be simply to stretch for 10 minutes each day.

What Are the Best Stretches Before Running?

Runners are typically super excited to hit the pavement, often neglecting to stretch properly. It would be best if you always were sure to do some active warmup stretching. 

Before doing any of these, be sure to jog around a little to get the juices flowing.

Dynamic warmups are a type of stretching. Don’t make the mistake of doing any static stretching on cold muscles.  

  • Side Lunges
  • Arm Circles
  • Arm Swings
  • High Knees
  • Butt Kicks
  • Lunges
  • Carioca

How Long Should You Stretch After a Run?

If you set yourself a goal to stretch each muscle group for 20-30 seconds, you can get a pretty good stretching routine done in less than 10 minutes. And most people stretch far less time than they think they are doing.

Try it once.

Set yourself a timer and set it aside. Without overthinking it, do your “normal stretching” post-run. It will likely be less than your body needs.

Try it again.

Focus on 30 seconds for each muscle and part of your body. Are you closer to 7 minutes than before? Is there something else you should do to stretch it a bit more?

Remember, stretching can help you out in many ways but don’t overdo it. While it is important to learn and do stretches for runners, take things slow in the beginning.  

Know your body and know the proper way to do things, and you can ensure a more effective you!

Always do your research and know what you’re doing. Have fun out there, and as always, stay loose!

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