It can be challenging enough to carve out time to run each day, let alone finding 10 extra minutes at the end of your workout to cool down. While it may sound less than ideal, making the time to properly cool down and complete a few post-run stretches will likely pay off in the long run (literally).
Just like warming up before a run helps get the blood flowing, post-run stretching helps keep the blood flowing long enough to flush out lactic acid to prevent build up and soreness.
Stretching after a run doesn’t have to take forever. Even just a few minutes of static stretching each day may be enough to help keep injuries at bay.
These stretches for runners target all the major muscles that are used on the run. With this stretching routine, you’ll loosen and lengthen your hamstrings, glutes, hips, feet, shins, calves, achilles, IT band, arms, shoulders and neck.
Try adding these simple post-run stretches to your routine after a run for enhanced recovery and improved performance each day.
15 Essential Post-Run Stretches for Runners
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Begin seated on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Bring one foot in to rest against the inside of your opposite thigh, and then lean forward to touch your toes. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Lie flat on your back, bending your knees to plant your feet flat on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left leg, and reach behind your left hamstring to gently pull your leg towards your chest. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Begin by kneeling on the floor and simply extend your right leg straight in front of you, resting your heel on the floor. Lean forward and reach down towards your right shin. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Begin again by kneeling on the floor and extend your right leg straight back behind you, resting your knee on the floor. Place your hands on your left thigh and lean back slightly until you feel a stretch in your right hip. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Standing Quad Stretch
Start by standing with your two feet about hip width distance apart. Lift your right foot and bring it back behind you, raising it up towards your glutes. Reach back to grab your right foot with your hands and balance. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Begin by kneeling on the floor and then sit back on to your heels, making sure your toes are flat against the floor. Remain seated and hold for about 30 seconds.
Standing Shin Stretch
Start by standing with your two feet next to one another. Cross your right foot over your left and point your toes to place the top of your right foot against the floor. Squat down slightly until you feel the stretch in your right shin. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Standing Calf Stretch
Stand about one foot away from a wall or door, and then take a step back with your right foot. Keeping your right foot flat on the floor, lean forward to rest your hands the wall and drop your knee until you feel a stretch in the back of your right calf. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Standing IT Band Stretch
Begin by standing with both feet next to one another. Cross your right foot over your left, planting it on the floor directly next to your left foot. Reach your hands down towards the right side of your feet until you feel a stretch in your IT band. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Cross Body Arm Stretch
Start by standing with your two feet about hip width apart. Reach your right arm directly across your body, reaching up to hold it in place with your left hand. Hold for about 15 seconds and then switch arms.
Lengthening Arm Stretch
Continue standing with both feet about hip width apart. Raise your left hand directly above your head and reach up to grab your left wrist with your right hand. Pull gently on your left wrist to extend your arm up and slightly over to the right, until you feel a stretch in your left side. Hold for about 15 seconds and then switch arms.
Center Neck Stretch
Standing with both feet about hip width distance apart, drop your head down with your chin towards your chest. Place both hands on the back of your head to add gentle pressure and accentuate the stretch. Hold for about 30 seconds.
Seated Neck Side Stretch
Begin in a seated, cross leg position. Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder, while extending your left arm directly out to your side. Accentuate the stretch by reaching your right hand over your head and resting your palm against the left side of your head. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Legs Up the Wall
Find a wall or door and scoot your hips as close to it as possible. Extend your legs up in the air, resting them against the wall. Rest here for anywhere from 1-5 minutes.
Completing this stretching routine post-run is a great way to jumpstart recovery and cool down after a run. These stretches help loosen your muscles by gently lengthening them and promoting blood flow to each area.
Adding a few simple post run stretches helps your body recover after hard workouts and long runs to keep your body injury free throughout your training plan. Stay safe and healthy on the run with this stretching routine!