Stretching for runners

As a runner, it’s hard to get into the routine of stretching before and after runs.  I know lots of young runners who just go run without any stretching and say there is nothing wrong with their body afterwards but they don’t see the effects of their negligence now.  Runners who choose not to stretch are more prone to injuries and more susceptible to knee or back problems in the future.  So take the time and STRETCH!

There are many reasons to incorporate stretching into your running routine to prepare yourself for the rigors of the road. The benefits of stretching before running is that it will reduce the risk of injuries to your body, releases tension, and allows your body to have it’s full range of motion so able to perform better. Post run stretching is just as important and main benefit is to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness in the legs.  Pre run preparation is a 2 step process while the post run is just stretching.

Pre-run preparation

  1. Warmup - Warmup is not the same as stretching.  Sometimes I see people hurt themselves while stretching more than when they are actually running.  So it’s important to warm up your body with a 5-10 min easy jog then proceed with your stretches.  Warm bodies stretch more easily.
  2. Stretching - It’s recommended to stretch at least 5-8 mins per side and each muscle at least 3 times.  Your ankle, back, hamstring, quads, and groin muscles are major target areas for stretching.

Post-run stretches

It’s easy to just forget about stretching after runs, but this step is just as important as stretching before runs.  This will help and to release any tension in the arms, neck or shoulders.  Although, if you are experiencing tension in your arms or shoulders, this could be caused from poor running form.   Major areas to stretch are your hamstrings, quads, back and arms.

I sometimes forget to stretch after a run too which is no excuse but I try to do Yoga at least once a week to make up for it.  Stretching is important but extremely important for runners who run in the cold weather.

Related Running Tips:

  1. Strength Training For Runners
  2. Strength Training Workouts for Runners
  3. Proper running form
  4. Best running surfaces for your feet
  5. Treat and Prevent shin splints
  6. What to eat before a race
  7. What to eat for post race recovery

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