Stretching is an important component of any fitness routine. Although it can be tempting to finish a run and skip the stretches, you know better. Stretching has many benefits, including increased range of motion and improved muscular coordination. Research shows that flexible muscles also recover more quickly because they are more receptive to glycogen replacement, which will fuel your next run. Ever better: Your flexibility routine doesn't have to take a lot of time. Just five or 10 minutes is all you need at the end of your workout.|
While any full-body stretching routine will do, there are some specific stretches that can help improve your running performance and prevent the aches and pains runners commonly experience.
Because running, while good for you in many ways, does put stress on your body—especially the lower limbs and joints—the following stretches target the muscles runners use most. Follow the short routine below if time is lacking, or ideally, add these running-specific stretches to your current flexibility training program, which should also include some general upper body and core stretches, too.
Print Photos and Instructions for This Stretching Routine
Runners are notorious for tight hamstrings that can cause lower back problems and lead to pulled muscles. Tight hamstrings also limit your range of motion, which can affect running stride, form and speed. To improve hamstring flexibility, try this lying hamstring stretch, which keeps the spine neutral whereas basic toe touches (forward bends) do not, thereby reducing risk of low back pain.