8 Essential Stretches For Runners

Stretch*d Program Director, Jeff Brannigan takes you through the stretches that every runner needs to know.

Although marathon season didn’t make it, running has been one of the biggest fitness trends of 2020. Outdoors and all about distancing, it’s a great way to stay in shape safely, while many of our favorite workouts are unfortunately on pause.

The long miles pounding pavement do take their toll on your body, meaning a thorough warm-up and warm down is critical to avoiding injury.

Here are 8 essential stretches to add to our pre- and post-run routine.

Smooth Walk*r 2 | Calf Stretch

Targets the soleus (flat, broad muscle in your calf), which gets very stressed from running, or even long hours standing. The added impact and action of projecting ourselves forward up on our toes will cause a tight soleus. This will be great for relieving foot pain and injuries like plantar fasciitis as these muscles travel down the calf and into the base of the foot.

Smooth Walk*r 1 | Calf Stretch

Targets the upper calf and is a great exercise for knee pain and tight posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back).

Hello Hammies 1 | Hamstring Stretch

This bent knee hamstring stretch targets the lower hamstring attachments closer to the knee, making it great for the high impacts of running. For anyone dealing with knee issues, this is a must-have in your routine.

Hello Hammies 2 | Hamstring Stretch

This straight leg hamstring stretch targets deeper in the hamstring and is great for knee, hip, and low back tightness.

Side Sweep*r | Adductor Stretch

Targets the medial hamstrings and adductor muscles—one of the most neglected areas in the legs and hips.

Crossov*r | Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis is deep in the buttock and works to help your hips rotate and legs turn. Crossov*r will help unlock the IT band, a very common and debilitating issue in runners.

Stretch*d sQuad | Quad Stretch

The quads are often one of the tightest areas in a runner’s body. This area is often very tight from sitting all day, then does a huge amount of work when running. Lengthening this area is key in relieving knee, hip, and back pain.

Gloating Glutes | Glutes Stretch

The glutes are responsible for many explosive movements, work particularly hard in sprints or interval training. Targeting larger glute muscles like the Gluteus Maximus, this stretch will provide relief in the hip, knee, and back.