Post-run is a great time to stretch because your muscles will be warmed up. These stretches target particular areas that frequently get tight during and after running. Make them part of your post-run routine to help improve your flexibility, comfort, and performance.
This hamstring stretch feels great, and it’s easier on your back than the bending-over stretch. Here’s what to do:
1. Lie on your back with your legs extended and your back straight. Make sure your lower back is on the floor and your hips are level.
2. Bend your left knee and keep your left leg extended on the floor.
3. Slowly straighten your right knee, grabbing the back of your leg with both hands
4. Gently pull your right leg towards you while keeping your hips on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on your left side.
If straightening your leg is too difficult, you can also do this stretch with a bent knee.
Your quadriceps (front thighs) are powerful muscles that work hard when you’re running, so it’s important that you stretch them. Here’s what to do:
1. Stand straight (don’t lean forward), lift the foot of your cramping leg up behind you, and grab your foot with your hand on that side.
2. Pull your heel gently toward your butt, feeling a stretch in your quad.
3. Keep your other leg straight and try to keep your knees as close together as possible.
4. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Release and repeat. Switch legs and repeat steps on the other leg.
Your calf muscles work hard when you’re running, so they’ll need a good stretch when you’re done. Stretching your calves can also help prevent shin splints. Here’s what to do:
1. To begin, stand facing up a flight of stairs or exercise step.
2. Position yourself so that the ball of your foot and your toes are on the edge of the step. You can hold a railing or wall for extra support.
3. Drop the heel of one foot toward the ground, while bending the knee of the opposite leg. You should feel the stretch in the calf of the leg dropping the heel.
5. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat with the opposite side.
Low Lunge Stretch
This is a great stretch for your hip flexor muscles, which work hard lifting your legs up during running. Here’s what to do:
1. Step into a lunge position.
2. Keep your toes pointed forward and your upper torso straight. Your back leg should be straight back behind you.
3. 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 (of your back leg).
4. Hold 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.
Try these stretches and see the results.