Skipping pre-run stretches is a recipe for sore muscles. Prepping your body for the run is every bit as important as stretching when you’re finished to help it cool down gradually. Starting with a 5-10 minute jog or walk, followed by these dynamic stretches, will get you ready for the run.
Walking lunges loosen up the major muscles used when running, specifically the quads and hip flexors. They also stimulate the forward motion of running.
- Stand with your feet together and then take a long step forward with your right foot. Bed the front knee to 90 degrees and the bend the back knee until it almost touches the ground.
- Stay in this position for a few seconds before rising up and taking another big step forward, and repeat on the other side.
- Continue for about 10 lunges (five on each side).
Hip Flexor Stretch
If you sit at a desk most of the day, you probably have tight hip flexors. This makes this pre-run stretch especially important.
- Start in a lunge with your front knee at 90 degrees.
- Begin to straighten your back leg, so you feel a stretch along the front of your back thigh. Keep your front knee aligned over your toes.
- Raise your arms over your head and hold for a few seconds, and then release.
- Continue in a dynamic motion, shifting forward as you raise your arms up, and then lowering your arms as you come back to the starting position.
- Repeat five times on each side.
Dynamic Pigeon Pose
This is a variation of a classic yoga pose called the Pigeon. It stretches the glutes and the IT band along the outer thigh.
- Start in a downward facing dog position. Hands should be flat on the ground in front of you, and your hip should be flexed, with your flutes high up in the air.
- Raise your left leg up into the air and open the hips by arching the back towards the opposite side of your body.
- Bring the left leg back down and bend you left knee, attempting to meet it with your right elbow.
- Raise the left leg back up in the air to “open” the hips again.
- Finish the move back in downward facing dog, and repeat the steps with your right leg. Repeat 5 times.