Getting your post run stretches done correctly is every bit as important as your pre-run stretches.
Unfortunately it is so often overlooked which can have negative long-term impacts.
That’s why we’ve enlisted the expertise of our brand ambassador and Irish International Sprint Hurdler, Sarah Quinn, to share some tips on your post run stretches.
Sarah, a member of the Irish 4x200m Relay team who took silver in the World Championships in 2022, talks us through a simple routine anyone can do and also why post run stretches are important.
So if you’re an elite level runner our just starting out, this routine can work for you.
Before you hear from Sarah, you might like our Guide to the Correct Recovery after a long run here.
Check out the full video below.
The Benefits of Post Run Stretches
“You may notice that your body feels sore after a run, which is a sign that you need to relax and recover.
“Stretching is also an important element of your rehabilitation process. Muscles are more flexible when they are warm.
“Stretching them at this time can help them heal faster by increasing their range of motion. Stretching shortly after a run, in particular, can help prevent muscle and joint stiffness that might come after an exercise, a condition known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
“After exercise, increasing blood flow to the working muscles can help you recover faster. Blood circulation supplies nutrition to the muscles while also filtering waste materials like lactic acid.
“This can help to alleviate the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness, which include muscle stiffness, tightness, pain, and decreased muscle strength.
“As a result, the more you incorporate stretching into your post-run routine, the better your recovery will be. As a result, you’ll be less sore and more prepared for your next workout.”
Part 1: Slow Jog or Run
“Starting your post-run recovery program with a cooldown is always a good idea.
“This entails lowering the intensity of the workout for 5-10 minutes. You may go for a light jog or stroll, or do any low-intensity cardiovascular activity.
“The idea is to gradually lower your heart rate while your muscles remain heated. This will allow you to hold stretches for longer periods of time without having to huff and puff.
“After you’ve completed your cooldown, you can begin static stretches.
“These are isometric holds (a type of static stretch) that stretch the muscles that have been working hard the entire time you’ve been running.”
Post Run Stretches 1: Standing Quad Stretch
“Your quads, located at the front of your thighs, are powerful muscles that work hard when you’re running, so making sure they are loose and stretched is key.
“Here’s what to do.”
- Stand tall (don’t slouch), lift the foot of your cramping leg behind you, and grab it with your hand on the opposite side.
- Gently pull your heel toward your buttocks until you feel a stretch in your quad.
- Keep your other leg straight and your knees as near as possible together.
- Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds before releasing it. Release and do it again. Change legs and repeat the steps on the opposite leg.
Post Run Stretches 2: Calf Stretch
“Your calf muscles also work hard, particularly when the ground is hard or bumpy.
“Having well stretched and loose calves will go a long way in preventing shin splints too!”
- Start by facing a flight of steps or an exercise step.
- Align your foot such that the ball of your foot and toes are on the step’s edge. For further support, you can grab a railing or a wall.
- Lower one foot’s heel toward the ground while bending the opposing leg’s knee. 4. You should feel a strain in the calf of your leg when you lower your heel.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
Post Run Stretches 3: Seated Twist
“I love this deep stretch because it is a great way to target your glutes, hips and back.
“Your glutes are generally where all your power comes from and if left neglected can cause other issues and tightness in other body parts.
“While having loose hips and lower back are absolutely key to running pain free.”
- Sit with your legs straight out in front of you on the ground.
- Lift and cross your right leg over your left leg, which should remain straight.
- Bring your right leg to your chest and twist your body to glance over your right shoulder with your trunk.
- Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat the process.
Post Run Stretches 4: Half Kneeling Lunge
“Your hip flexors are responsible for the heavy lifting of your legs as you run and it’s very common amongst runners of all abilities to have tight hips.
“Tight hips and groin muscles can also be common with jobs that require hours of sitting down at a time, be it a desk or a car.
“Make sure to follow these steps.”
- Take a step forward into a lunge position.
- Keep your upper torso erect and your toes pointed forward. Rear behind you, your back leg should be straight.
- Extend your hips forward with your hands until you feel a stretch from the front of your hip to the top of your thigh (of your back leg).
- Hold for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.
Post Run Stretches 5: Banded Hamstring
“Runners frequently complain about the dreaded tight hamstrings.
“This can occur as a result of improper running form. If you overstretch your hamstrings by taking too long strides, you could end up with tight hamstrings.
“ Here’s what you should do.“
- Get a resistance band or towel or something similar and lie flat on your back.
- Loop it around the leg you will stretch and lift it toward the ceiling
- Flex your foot toward you and pull back on the band to increase the stretch
- Also, you can lift the top half of your leg up and down in a controlled motion
- Repeat on the other leg
Post Run Stretches 6: Lying Down Pelvic Twist
“A tight lower back can be the cause of so many problems for runners.
“With the different variations in the ground, it can be fairly taxing on your lower back, so a few easy stretches go a long way.
“Like this one.”
- Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent at a 90 degree angle, arms out to the side
- slowly lower your legs to the floor
- Use your hand to pull your knees down further and hold into the stretch
- Repeat on either side
“I hope you enjoyed this routine and that it will help you getting a proper, quick and easy-to-do cool down in after your run.
“Don’t be scared to let us know how you got on with it or if you’d like me to cover any more topics.
“Check out Elverys Running category here or below to see some great products to help you enjoy that run.”