Post-Run Stretches

Avoid muscle stiffness and soreness post run with this simple stretching routine

Static stretching is often dismissed by time-poor runners but the more flexible you are, the more progress you’ll make, and the less likely you are to suffer from soreness and stiffness post run. Do these stretches after a training session when your muscles are still warm, as stretching cold can risk damage. Integrate this routine into your weekly training schedule to ensure you not only stretch on your training days but on your rest days, too.

Cat stretch

Cat stretch

Muscles worked:
Back muscles (erector spinae)

Why do it?
This will improve the mobility in your back and reduce back pain.

Technique

  • Kneel on all fours.
  • Curve your spine up to form an arch.
  • Hold the position for a second.
  • Arch your back and make it hollow.
  • Hold the position for a second.
  • Alternate between the two moves.
  • Repeat ten times.

Watch points
Keep your arms straight.

Cobra stretch

Cobra stretch

Muscles worked:
Stomach and lower back (rectus abdominus, erector spinae)

Why do it?
Being in a seated position during the day can stiffen up the muscles in your torso which can lead to injuries.

Technique

  • Lie on your stomach on the ground.
  • Place your hands next to your shoulders on the ground.
  • Slowly straighten your arms allowing your spine to curve backwards.
  • Focus on lifting one vertebrae at a time.
  • Hold the top position for a few seconds while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Slowly lower with control.
  • Repeat five times.

Watch points
Don’t worry about straightening your arms fully if it puts excess pressure on your spine.

Piriformis stretch

Piriformis stretch

Muscles worked:
Piriformis (muscle underneath your bottom)

Why do it?
Tightness in your Piriformis can cause irritation to the sciatic nerve. This is called Piriformis Syndrome.

Technique

  • Keep your right leg bent and your left leg stretched out behind you while laying on your stomach on the floor.
  • Lower your head towards the ground and stretch your arms out in front of you.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds on each side to develop your flexibility.

Watch points:
Don’t over stretch. Hold the stretch and once it has eased off try to stretch a bit further.

Child’s pose

Child's pose

Muscles worked:
Shoulders, back, inner thighs, top of your feet (deltoids, erector spinae, adductors, foot extensors)

Why do it?
This position places your spine in a natural position and is a great way to release tension. If you are very flexible you might not feel much of a stretch.

Technique

  • Sit on your knees on the floor with the top parts of your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lower your head forward until it rests on the floor in front of you.
  • Reach your arms as far forward as possible.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds minimum.

Watch points:
Listen to your body; stretch as much or as little as your body feels comfortable with.

Quadriceps stretch

Quadriceps stretch

Muscles worked:
Front thighs (quadriceps)

Why do it?
The stronger your muscles are the tighter they will feel which is why it is so important to stretch.

Technique

  • Lie on your left side.
  • Grab hold of your right ankle with your right hand and pull your heel towards your bottom until you feel the stretch through your front thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before changing over to the other side.

Watch points:
If you can’t reach your ankle grab hold of your shoe or your leggings.

Seated hamstring stretch

Seated hamstring stretch

Muscles worked:
Back thighs (hamstrings)

Why do it?
Supple hamstrings are very important to prevent injuries in your knees, hips and lower back.

Technique

  • Sit on the floor with your left leg straight and your right leg bent.
  • Reach forward with your left hand and aim to touch your toes.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds before changing over to the right.

Watch points:
Only reach as far forward as you feel comfortable. Over-stretching can cause injuries.

Glute stretch

Glute stretch

Muscles worked:
Buttocks, back thighs (hamstrings)

Why do it?
Tightness though your bottom can lead to pain in your hips or bottom.

Technique

  • Lie on your back.
  • Place your left foot on your right knee.
  • Keep your right leg at a right angle.
  • Hold your right leg and pull your legs in towards your chest.
  • You should feel a stretch in your left buttocks.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds before changing over to the right.

Watch points:
Keep your head relaxed on the ground.

Achilles stretch

Achilles stretch

Muscles worked:
Lower part of your calf (achilles)

Why do it?
Running can tighten up the tendon that connects your calf muscle to your foot. Tightness can lead to different injuries in the Achilles’ tendon, in your ankle.

Technique

  • Stand with your left foot slightly in front of your right. Ensure that your toes are pointing straight forward.
  • Bend your knees and sit back onto your right leg.
  • Push your right heel onto the ground.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds before changing over to the left.

Watch points:
Keep your back straight and look forward.


Women's Running

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