Eight Running Stretches to Remember

With the season for 5Ks and 10Ks underway, it is important to warm up properly before these events to prevent any injuries. When running, you’re not using just your legs.  Each muscle plays a role in your running routine, so it is especially important to stretch before and after.  Here are a few stretching tips for you to note before you hit the ground running!

The Calf Stretch

Your calf muscles work incredibly hard when you’re running, so it’s important to stretch them fully before and after.  Place both hands extended in front of you on a wall, lean against the wall with one knee bent and facing forward. Keeping the heel of your rear foot grounded, hold 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [1]

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The Quadricep Stretch

Your quadriceps work to the fullest as well while you’re running, so be sure to stretch them before and after.  Standing straight, lift your right foot up behind you and grab your foot. Pull your heel gently toward you with your knees as close together as possible. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [2]

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The Hip Flexor Stretch

Your hip flexor muscles work to lift your legs up during running.  Start in a lunge position with your toes and upper torso pointed forward.  Press down with your hands and extend the hips forward until you feel a stretch from the front of your hip and the top of your thigh. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [3]

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The Hamstring Stretch

Your hamstrings are highly prone to injury, so it’s crucial to stretch them before and after running. Standing with your legs crossed and the outside of your feet together, bend over with your rear knee straight. Reach for your feet and bring your torso close to your legs. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [4]

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The Tricep Stretch

Not only do you use your legs but also your upper body when running.  To stretch your triceps, bring your elbow across your body towards the opposite shoulder. With your other hand, bring your elbow close to your shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat with the opposite arm. [5]

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The Hip and Lower Back Stretch

To stretch your hips and lower back, sit on the ground with your legs straightened in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left leg. Pull your right leg to your chest and twist the trunk of your body to look over your right shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side. [6]

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The Groin Stretch

Also known as the butterfly stretch, the groin stretch is beneficial for your inner thighs and groin area.  Sit on the ground with the soles of your feet touching in front of you and knees out to the side. Push your feet as close to your groin as possible with your knees as close to the ground as possible. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Lean forward, as if to touch your nose to the ground if the stretch feels too easy. [7]

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The Arms and Abs Stretch

To stretch your arms, oblique, and abs, stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Stretch your arms above your head with your shoulders relaxed. Lean back as far as you can without hurting your back, return to the upright position and then lean to the left and right to stretch your sides. [8]

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[1] Photo: Mike Harrington / Getty Images

[2] Photo by Reggie Casagrande/Getty Images

[3] Photo by Eddie Collins/Getty Images

[4] Photo by Siri Stafford/Getty Images

[5] Photo by ballyscanlon

[6] Photo by Siri Stafford

[7] Photo by George Doyle

[8] Photo by Plush Studios

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