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The Best Pre-Run Stretches

The 5 Best Pre-Run Stretches

Research has shown that stretching can improve your flexibility, which may improve your performance, prevent muscle pain, and decrease your risk of injury. Many people also find that doing certain stretches before running helps put them in the right headspace, preparing them mentally for the challenge to come.

Ready to give pre-run stretches a try? It's important to do the right ones to get the best possible results.

Here are 5 of the best pre-run stretches out there.

best stretches for runners

1. Lateral Squat Stretch

Lateral squat stretches are great for stretching your groin and adductors, which can positively impact your stride. To do this stretch, stand with your feet wide apart, pointing your toes forward. Shift your weight onto one foot, bending that knee and sending your hips back while keeping the other leg straight. Once you've held this position for 5 seconds, you can switch from one leg to another for 60 seconds in total. If you're struggling at all with your balance, try clasping your hands together in front of your chest.

2. Walking Lunge

Many runners do walking lunges to help loosen up the major muscles used when running, such as the quads and hip flexors. To do a proper walking lunge, stand with your feet together and take a long step forward with one foot. Bend that front knee about 90 degrees until your back knee is almost touching the ground. After a few seconds, stand up and take another step forward with the opposite leg.

3. Glute and Piriformis Activation

The glute and piriformis activation stretch is one of the best runners' knee stretches. It's also a favorite among those with piriformis and iliotibial band issues. To do this stretch, stand up straight and bring your ankle up over the opposite leg. You should be inverting your foot towards your knee and then your waist. You'll then feel a nice stretch in your glutes and lateral quads.

4. Leg Swings

A leg swing has the potential to loosen up several different muscle groups. To reduce tightness around the abductor and adductor muscles, keep your torso strong and swing one leg across the body and back without rotating your trunk or pelvis. Your movements should be controlled but without any forced effort. Leg swings that target your hamstring and hip flexor muscles are similar, except you're swinging your leg forwards and backward. Try to keep your pelvis in a strong position, not leaning back or forward.

5. Arm Swings

Arm swings are good for your shoulder, chest, and upper back muscles, which you use considerably when running. To do an arm swing, stand up straight and begin swinging both arms in a circular, windmill-like motion. You should be swinging your whole arm, starting with smaller circles and working up to larger ones. Doing this exercise for just 30 seconds can have a positive impact on your run.

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