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8 Most Effective Stretches You Should Do If You Love Running

linda_k
By: linda_k
On : May 19, 2021
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Running is one of the popular spots that people nowadays like to do either in the morning or evening. People believe in running that it will benefit their physical health the most. Anyway, some people missed doing one important thing before and after they run. It is about stretching, if you start to run without stretching first it might be harmful to your muscles. 

Whenever you run, the muscle of the whole body will be worked out, especially your knees, upper leg, lower leg, foot, ankles, hips, and lower back. So, if you don’t do any stretch before running, your muscles are easy to get hurt and can’t run in a far distance and you easy to quit running next time. To prevent this you should learn more about stretching and its benefit to your body. 

Admittedly, we provide you the very helpful stretching techniques that can facilitate all muscles getting involved when you run. You be able to practice everywhere, importantly, the runner who would like to run in public space or at anywhere besides home. Since you do not need any materials to help in practice, yet, you only need knowledge of these stretching skills. 

1. High Knees Stretch

The knee is a part that is connected between the two long bones of the upper and lower leg by muscle, ligaments, and tendons. It is easy to get hurt or injured when you jump, run, or have long-distance walking. So, as a runner, you should do a high knee stretch to prevent yourself from injury as below. 

  •  Stand up straight in a surface place 
  • lift one side of your knee up to your waist and put it down back to the original posture
  • Then, lift another side of your knee up to the waist and put it down back like the previous time
  • Replicate it by increasing the speed like you are running 
  • Do it at a steady pace around 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

2. Walking Lunge

Walking lunge is a great stretch posture for the runner, mainly for the beginner. It will improve and strengthen the muscle of your leg, hip, and abs. a walking lunge not only makes your body strong but it trains you to be more flexible.  

  • Stand up straight, then move the right leg one big step ahead and down forward both legs at the same time until the front and the back leg is at a 90-degree angle. Note that in this posture your heel of the back leg is moving up. Keep your body stay straight don’t arch it to the front or to the back because it will make more tension to your muscle 
  • Move the back leg up to the front, keep it in the high position by standing straight on the other leg. Hold in the pose for a second to make your balance before you are moving to another step. 
  • Then put down the high leg pose to the front and repeat in the same instruction. 

3. Quad Stretch

In every movement of your body, your knees, muscles, quad, and hamstring are always working out, especially when you are running. So if you suddenly start to run without doing any stretching it will cause your muscles and knee joint pain. This is because your muscle is going to get more tension when you run without stretching first.  

Doing the quad stretching technique below before running will relieve your muscle's motion.

  • Stand straight on your left leg, lift your right leg up back to your butt 
  • Use your right hand to grab your right toe’s leg, help to move your leg forward to your butt around 20 seconds. Then drop your feet back to the ground.
  • Again, start it from the other leg and duplicate it.   

4. Hamstring Stretch

There are three kinds of hamstring which are in the back of the quad of the thigh. It stretches from the people's hip to the knees. Those muscles work out whenever you move and are the easiest to get injured, especially for people who are involved in sport or exercise. That is the reason every runner should do stretching before and after running.

Hamstring stretch has many techniques and positions that you can choose to implement before and after you run. Anyway, here I will introduce you to the conventional technique. 

  • Stand by putting your legs apart from each other to keep your balance 
  • Bend the forward upper body at your waist onto the ground slowly by keeping both hands moving forward to touch the floor or your toes. Please note that your legs, especially your knees have to be straight. 
  • Move upward your body back to the standing position and start the new round of moving forward the same again and again 

5. Ankle Stretch

Generally, people's ankles are an important part for the runner to take care of, it is easy to get injured though you walk or run. The common issue of the ankle is joint pain when your movement is in an inappropriate way. Another common problem is the sprain which means you get an injury to the ligaments of the leg. 

To reduce the chance of hurting your ankle, all runner should be experienced in doing ankle stretch technique here:

  • Stand up straight on a surface of floor or land, make sure that you stand in a balanced way 
  • These techniques depend on your toes and heel. Keep your toes on the surface by lifting the heel up slowly. Be careful in that part because your whole weight will depend on the toes. You can use a wall or something that you can hold to help if you don’t have confidence.  
  • Slowly down the heel back to the surface, then redo it as you want. 

6. Leg Swings

Leg swings are a stretch that gives benefit to your whole legs. It is an amazing tool to help the fluid move in and out of the joint easily, which means it helps to energize the blood flow around the leg tissue to improve the flexibility of the joint capsule. It particularly makes your leg tissue perform very well in every movement. Let yourself practice the leg swings every time before running, it means you give yourself a chance to be free from injury.

Here is a leg swings technique for all runners to implement. Anyway, you might need something to help you in balancing yourself like a wall, tree, or something you can depend on.

  • You can use neither the right nor the left arm to touch the wall to keep you stay in balance
  • Keep one leg on the surface and lift up the other side from the ground and move it forward and backward in 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Swift to another leg and repeat it the same. 

7. Side Bends Stretch

This stretch technique involves almost your whole body. Similarly, it is not different from other techniques in that it will strengthen the muscle of your legs and arms. It facilitates the blood vessels of your whole body that is good to prepare yourself before running. 

  1. Stand up by keep distance of your both legs 
  2. Down your waist to the ground, move the right hand together with your body to touch the left toes and move the left hand up to your back 
  3. Hold it on 5 seconds, and move up your body back to the standing position 
  4. Then, move your waist down again to the ground, come together with your left hand to touch the right toes, and move the right hand up to your back
  5. Repeat this pose 5 to 10 times.

8. Jumping Jacks

It is very important for the runner to do a jumping jack before the run. Some runners might be getting a fast heart rate while they are running fast or far. Same as some runners who don’t have strong muscle particularly the beginner who runs without doing any stretch to warming up. Whereas, the jumping jack is an ideal solution for all runners to decrease the chance of getting wounded from running. It will help you to balance your heart rate, help to maintain the blood pressure, or prevent you from any heart attack. 

You can start the routine of jumping jack technique before running below: 

  • Standing up by keeping your feet together and lower your arms to fit your body.
  • Start to jump by separate your legs apart from each, move up your hand to touch each other over your head at the same time
  • Next, jump back to the previous position by bringing your hands back to fit your body too
  • Then jump in the same pose by increasing speed 

Conclusion

All of the stretching techniques are beneficial to your body but as a smart runner, you should choose the suitable technique which is easier and make you more comfortable. Remember one thing, all stretching techniques will succor you to relieve muscle tension or pain and freely your muscle from injury. It won’t give a bad effect on your body, if so stop it.  

Undoubtedly, you can practice these techniques both before and after running. Don’t forget to breathe in and out as well during you are stretching because it is necessary for your body before a run. 


References

https://trainwithmarc.com/2019/10/09/8-stretches-to-do-after-a-run/

https://www.healthline.com/health/running-injuries#runners-knee

https://worldsmarathons.com/article/should-you-stretch-before-or-after-running-

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/stretch-before-exercising/#:~:text=There%20is%20some%20evidence%20that,class%2C%20or%20just%20after%20exercising.

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