Best Stretches To Do Before A Run

Stretching before a run is an essential component of any warm-up routine. Whether you're an experienced runner or just starting, incorporating stretches into your pre-workout routine can help improve your range of motion, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance performance. At Stretch Lab, we understand the importance of proper stretching techniques, which is why we offer stretching classes across Australia to support runners of all levels.

In the following article, we will explore a range of dynamic stretches that target key areas such as calf muscles, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles to enhance your running performance and protect against common injuries.

Benefits of Stretching Before a Run

Stretching before a run offers a multitude of benefits that can greatly enhance your running experience. First and foremost, it helps to increase your range of motion, allowing your joints to move freely and ensuring optimal form and efficiency while running. This is especially important for trail runners who navigate uneven terrain and varied surfaces.

Another significant advantage of stretching before a run is the reduction in the risk of injury. Cold muscles are more susceptible to strains, pulls, and tears, so incorporating dynamic stretches into your warm-up routine helps to warm up and activate the muscles, reducing the chances of running-related injuries.

Stretching before a run also promotes better blood flow throughout the body. This increased circulation delivers vital oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, enabling them to perform at their best. It also helps to elevate your heart rate, priming your cardiovascular system for the demands of running. 

 Stretching Before a Run

Dynamic Stretches

Dynamic stretches are an excellent way to prepare your body for a run. Unlike static stretches, which involve holding a stretch for a period of time, dynamic stretches involve active movement that gently increases your heart rate, warms up your muscles, and improves your range of motion.

Here are some dynamic stretches you can incorporate into your pre-run routine:

  1. Leg swings: Stand next to a wall or hold onto a stable object for balance. Swing one leg forward and backward, gradually increasing the range of motion with each swing. Repeat on the other leg.
  2. Butt kicks: While jogging in place, kick your heels up towards your gluteal muscles, trying to touch them with your feet. Alternate legs quickly and maintain a fast pace.
  3. Walking lunges: Take a step forward with your left foot and lower your body into a lunge position. Push off with your left foot and bring your right foot forward into the next lunge. Continue alternating legs as you move forward.
  4. High knees: While jogging in place, lift your knees up towards your chest, aiming to bring them as high as possible with each step. Engage your core and maintain a brisk pace.

Static Stretches

Static stretching is another important component of a pre-run routine as it helps to lengthen and relax the muscles, preparing them for the upcoming activity. Here are a few essential static stretches that you can incorporate into your pre-run warm-up:

  1. Calf stretch: Find a wall or tree and step one foot back, keeping it straight. Lean forward, placing your hands on the wall or tree, while keeping your back leg and heel flat on the ground. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds on each leg.
  2. Quad stretch: Stand tall and bring one foot up towards your gluteal muscles, grabbing your ankle or shoelaces with the corresponding hand. Keep your standing leg slightly bent and maintain your balance. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds on each leg.
  3. Hamstring stretch: Sit on the ground with one leg extended straight in front of you and the other leg bent, foot flat against your inner thigh. Reach towards your toes on the extended leg, keeping your back straight. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds on each leg.
  4. Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on one knee with your other foot flat on the ground in front of you. Engage your core and gently lean forward, feeling a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds on each leg.

 Stretches to do Before a Run

Stretching For Different Types of Runs

Stretching is a crucial component of any running routine and the type of stretches you do before a run can vary depending on the distance and intensity of your run.

For short-distance runs, such as a quick jog or 5k, focus on dynamic stretches that involve active movement. Leg swings, butt kicks, and walking lunges are excellent choices as they increase blood flow and warm up the muscles. These stretches help prepare your body for a faster pace and quick foot turnover.

When it comes to long-distance runs, static stretches that target major muscle groups are essential. Perform calf stretches, hamstring stretches, and quad stretches to alleviate muscle stiffness and improve flexibility. Holding these stretches for about 30 seconds on each leg will help lengthen and relax the muscles, reducing the chances of injury during the run.

For sprinting or high-intensity runs, incorporate both dynamic and static stretches. Begin with dynamic stretching to warm up the entire body, then follow it up with deeper stretches to increase flexibility and prepare the muscles for explosive movements.

Remember, regardless of the type of run, it's important to always listen to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort during stretching, modify or stop the stretch immediately. Incorporating these pre-run stretches into your warm-up routine will help enhance your performance and reduce the risk of running-related injuries. So, lace up those shoes, stretch it out, and hit the ground running!

 Stretching Before a Run at Stretch Lab

How to Prepare for Your Pre-Run Stretch

Preparing for your pre-run stretch is essential to maximise the benefits and minimise the risk of injury. Here's how you can effectively prepare yourself:

  1. Choose a flat surface: Find a level and stable surface to perform your stretches. This will ensure proper balance and support during the stretches.
  2. Wear appropriate footwear: Opt for comfortable and supportive athletic shoes that provide stability and cushioning. This will protect your feet and ankles during the stretches.
  3. Warm up your muscles: Start with a brisk walk or light jog for 5-10 minutes to increase your body temperature and warm up your muscles. This will make them more pliable and ready for stretching.
  4. Engage the entire body: Incorporate stretches that target various muscle groups, including your upper body. Warm up your shoulders, arms, and core with stretches like shoulder rolls, arm circles, and trunk twists. This will ensure your entire body is ready for the run.

By following these steps, you'll effectively prepare your body for the pre-run stretches. This will help to improve your range of motion, prevent muscle stiffness, and reduce the risk of running-related injuries. Remember to consult with a professional or join a stretching session at Stretch Lab for expert guidance and support throughout your stretching journey.


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