VIDEO: 5 Quick Stretching Tips for Runners

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Running is a great way to burn calories, lose weight and get fit, and now that spring is nearly here, more and more people are dusting off their sneakers and hitting the ground running. I recently visited FOX 19 in Cincinnati to share some running tips and wasn't shocked with the anchor, Rob Williams, told me that although he's an avid runner (currently training for yet another marathon), he hates to stretch and usually ends up skipping it. I wasn't surprised, as I hear comments like that from exercisers on a regular basis. Usually when I teach a class, people start to leave when I start to lead the stretches, eager to get on their way now that the workout is over.

A lot of people avoid stretching, either because they're not sure what to do, they don't think it matters, or they simply feel like it's a waste of time—they just want to get going with their workout. They couldn't be more wrong! Everyone should stretch, and runners should take special care to maintain flexibility in specific areas of the body in order to run stronger and injury-free. That's especially important if you're new to running and want to start your training program on the right foot.

So, should you stretch before or after your run? What stretches should runners be sure to do?

Watch my 3-minute news segment to find out.

What I didn't have time to share in that segment was a great stretch for the piriformis. Runners should take care to include all four of these stretches after each run, in addition to the basic stretches you may already do for the calves, hamstrings and quads. For a complete stretching routine for runners that includes all of these moves (with detailed instructions), check out my 10-minute stretching video for runners or this printable routine. And for more training tips—including the best yoga poses and strength training moves for runners—be sure to visit SparkPeople's Running Center at

Do you tend to skip stretching? Do you have a favorite stretch that really benefits you?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


I do warm ups before I work out. I stretch and cool down after my workout Report
My mother is 94 and can still raise her leg straight up from a seated position beside her body parallel to her ear. Report
Routine: 1) Warm up (10 - 12 mins); 2) Stretch; 3) Run; 4) Cool Down (10 - 12 mins); 5) Stretch. I generally jog a mile before and after my weekly runs. I always stretch pre- & post-run. Makes a huge difference. My stretching routine runs between 10 - 15 mins. Report
Thanks! Report
Absolutely great Report
Recently have injured myself and it was all due to tight quads which apparently can mess a whole lot of things up. I’m now adapting a stretching routine that I will be religious to. Thank you for sharing this article Report
I might be an anomoly, but I LOVE stretching after my run or elliptical workout. I love how limber I feel, and I enjoy watching my flexibility improve with each session. I can REALLY tell the difference, though, the day after my run - I do not have painfully sore muscles! Report
Excellent tips! Thank you Nicole for doing a wonderful job in spreading the spark! Report
I use to rush through my stretches also, but that changed after I pulled a glute muscle ( ooouch ). Now I get alot of enjoyment out of a good stretch. I incorporate lots of yoga moves, and that feels wonderful! A good stretch also takes away a lot of the pain after working out!! So stretch sparkers stretch!!!! smile Report
No stretching BEFORE running? WOW. Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness use to laugh about all the stretching that they said needed to be done before running. He said a lion never bothers to stretch before she takes off running. So, someone now figured out that stretching AFTER running was the smart idea. Great. Report
I often tend to rush through my stretches. I know better and my age demands it. It is my plan to stretch for at least 15 minutes after I run. Report
Excellent as usual! Report
I tend to stretch after I exercise but only my legs. I always forget to stretch my arms. Even though I know it is good to stretch I find it time consuming and will quickly forget to do it. Like yesterday when I was exercising and had to get my girls got off the bus. I totally forgot to stretch afterwards. Report
Nicole, thank you I love it. Report
Nicole, AWESOME segment you looked GREAT! WooHoo Report
before the run I do ST and stretching. Also after my run, I stretch and cool down but that is a short workout. I see people come out and just start running and I tell them (the ones I know LOL) it is wrong... Report