Stretching after a run not only prevents muscle soreness and injuries but also increases flexibility which helps improve your running over time. If you are new to running, here are 3 easy and effective post-run stretches to boost recovery, flexibility, and performance.
Most runners complain of tight and sore hamstrings which often cause lower back pain. Perform this post-run stretch for 30-60 seconds to prevent stiff hamstrings.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight or bent at the knees, whichever feels more comfortable
- Raise your right leg up towards you while keeping the knee as straight as you can
- Grab the back of your leg (at the calf or behind the knee) with both hands. Gently pull your leg closer to your chest
- Hold your leg in this position for at least 15 seconds. Slowly build it up to 30 seconds
- Slowly release your arms, bring the right leg to the starting position, and repeat the stretch with your left leg
The front of your legs (quads) works hard when you run. Keeping your quads free from injuries and soreness also protects your knees. Add this post-run stretch to your cooldown routine to prevent cramps and muscle pulls.
- Stand upright, bend your right leg at the knee, and bring the foot towards your buttocks
- Grab your foot with the right hand and pull it as close to your buttocks as possible. You should feel a deep stretch in your quads
- Hold the stretch in this position for 15-30 seconds while standing up straight. Do not lean your upper body forward
- Gently release from this position and repeat on the other side
Your calves bear the majority brunt of your runs and improper warm-up, running technique, and cooldowns can result in painful shin splints. A good post-run stretch for your calves will keep you away from injuries and relax you after a long run.
- Stand facing a wall or any large, vertical surface
- Outstretch your arms and place both palms on the surface at shoulder level
- Bend your right leg at the knee, lean forward, and bend your elbows towards the wall/vertical surface
- Push your palms into the surface till you feel your calf muscle stretch
- Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side
From tracking metrics with apps like StepSetGo to fueling yourself correctly before and after a workout, a variety of factors contribute to a good run. Add these post-run stretches to boost recovery and to improve your running and prevent injury.
Want a part 2 with some more post-run stretches? Leave a comment!