Fitness Friday – Stretching For Runners

Happy Fitness Friday!!

After a brief hiatus last week, I am back to babbling about all things fitness at the end of each week.

This week wraps up what has been a series of several posts that are running related. I wrote about buying the right running shoes in this post and this post. As well as strength training for runners in this post.

Today’s topic covers the stuff you do after a run – stretching. I recently gave a talk to a local running group on the importance of stretching and put together the following program for them. I see so many people come into the running store with an ailment (plantar fasciitis!!) that could be solved, or significantly relieved through a proper stretching program.

I know it’s easy to forget about, or put low on your priority list. This is why I schedule stretching time into my workout time. I know I’m going to stretch 5-10 minutes after a run. So when I’m trying to figure out what time I have to wake up to get four miles in before work, I automatically add those minutes on to my running time.

It’s also worth mentioning that stretching is done after a workout and not before. You never want to strain cold muscles. A proper warm up (like 5 minutes of brisk walking) is the best thing you can do to get the oxygen and blood flowing and your body ready to exercise. If you want to stretch before, wait until after your warm up.

As far as dynamic stretching goes, I’m not a huge fan unless you’re a pro. Especially not weighted dynamic stretching. Some jumping and arm swinging isn’t going to hurt you, just be careful!

Now here is your own personal post-run stretching plan :)



Stand with front toe pressed against a wall and heel on the floor. Lift your back heel to intensify the stretch. Stretches: Gastrocnemieus (calf) and bottom of foot.
Good for: Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis.







Stand with one foot in front of the other. Push your weight forward, slightly bending the front knee. Back leg remains straight.
Stretches: Soleus, gastrocnemius
Good for: Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis.








Grab on to your shoe laces and pull knees together. Do not let knees float apart and push hips forward to intensify the stretch.
Stretches: Quadriceps (front of thigh)
Good for: Runner’s knee, ITB syndrome




Lunge forward with your front leg. Bend your back knee down so it is hovering above the floor. Take the same arm as the back leg and stretch it toward the ceiling. Lean back slightly, then to the opposite side.
Stretches: Front hip flexor
Good for: Hip flexor injury





In a standing position, cross your ankles and lean forward. Repeat with other side.
Stretches: IT band (along side of leg)
Good for: ITB syndrome








Sit with legs straight in front of you. Bend one leg up and over the other. Twist your body to wrap around the outside of the bent leg.
Stretches: IT band, lower back, hips
Good for: ITB syndrome, hip flexor injury







In a seated position, bring one heel inward and stretch the other straight out in front. With a straight back, tip forward from the hip in the direction of the outstretched leg.
Stretches: Hamstrings (back of thigh)
Good for: Pulled hamstring




Lying on your back, bring one leg towards the ceiling. Keeping the legs straight, pull the outstretched leg toward your body.
Stretches: Hamstrings
Good for: Pulled hamstring





Lying on your back, press the outside of one ankle against your other knee. Reach between the legs and grab the thigh of the bottom leg.
Stretches: Glutes, hips
Goof for: Hip and sciatic injuries



Click here to get the PDF version of these stretches. Print it out and hang it on your fridge and go through it whenever you get home from a run. Your body will not only love you for it – but I bet you’ll get better at running because of it too!

Posted on November 13, 2010, in Fitness Friday and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Thanks so much for putting these into a PDF. I bookmarked it and I’m going to print it later. Stretching after a workout is so important, but a lot of people don’t realize just how important and the impact it can have. I didn’t stretch after ANY of my workouts for a long, long time and it’s all caught up to me. I’ve had so many problems with injuries this year that I’m almost 100% were preventable, most of which could have been done through stretching. Silly!

  2. thanks for this great post. stretching after running is one of my favorite things. it feels SO great and i get all loosey goosey. i love it. i dont believe in static stretching at all, but ive found that sometimes dynamic stretching works for me.

  3. I am in the beginning stages of learning to run (C25K). I have been stretching after each session using most of the ones you have here. I am trying to find a good stretch that will do my shins. They get very tight after a walk/run. What do you recommended?

  4. Oooh, thanks for the tips! I can always use more stretches!

  5. I like these ideas. How do you feel about those foam rollers? I hear they are good after a run but never actually used them.

  6. I SUCK at stretching. I’m trying to bring yoga back into my life so my body will stop sending me hate mail…

  7. Wonderful post, thanks! I’ve been trying to work in more runner’s stretches into my workouts, but I also try to try/add new workouts in my Runner’s World magazine and it gets overwhelming! :-) The PDF is very helpful.

  8. Loved this. I’m so bad at stretching after I run but I know I need to… I do yoga a few days but I know it’s not exactly what I should be doing… now I know!

    Thanks, Susan!


  9. Stretching is pretty key…
    I have a sequence of stretches I go through that touch on every major muscle that I do after every workout. It’s so important especially after exercise with repetitive movements for an extended period of time – like running :)

  10. Thank you for this post! I never used to stretch but after a bit of an injury I’m trying to make an effort to actually do it… I’m going to print this out and put it on my wall to remind me.

  11. I used to run at least 20 miles a week and these stretches were essential. Due to injuries I had to give it up.

    BTW went to my first ever yoga class today, it was really great!

  12. You are so sweet, thanks for the pdf! Good info. I look forward to the nutritional info as well.

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