Easy and Essential Postrun Stretches
Running outside might just be the fittest gift Spring weather brings, but cooling down at the park can present some obstacles. While we're all for stretching, lying on the grass to lengthen your hamstrings isn't always option. We've created a guide of convenient stretches — all done standing — to hit the all the muscles you worked hard on your run.
Scissor Hamstring Stretch
- Stand with your feet together. Step your right foot back about two feet, and bend forward at your hips, keeping your back and both legs straight. After holding for 30 seconds, switch sides.
Easy to do anywhere and safe for injured backs, this hamstring stretch is great if you're really tight.
- Grab your right foot with your right hand, and pull it toward your butt. Reach your left hand forward for balance. To increase the stretch, squeeze your right glute.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Focus on keeping your knees together, so the outside of the quad gets thoroughly stretched.
- Pull your right knee toward your chest to round and stretch your low back. Increase the stretch by pulling your abs toward your spine.
This is a quick way to relieve any tension in your low back.
Standing Piriformis Stretch
- Bring your right knee toward your chest, then open the knee to the right. Cradle your right shin, and gentle rock your leg from side to side to increase the stretch.
- Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides.
This is a standing variation of the yoga pose Pigeon, which targets the deep glutes.
- Start standing in parallel, and take a big step back with your right leg, bending your left knee.
- Squeeze your right glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your right hip. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
This position stretches the hip flexors and is very important to do after speedwork.
Runner's Lunge With a Twist
- Deepen your runner's lunge by stepping your back foot a few inches farther away, so your front knee is bent to 90 degrees, knee directly over the ankle.
- Twist toward your front leg, reaching your top arm to the sky and your bottom hand to the ground for balance. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides.
This variation deepens the stretch and opens up your back, too.
- Step your right foot back about two feet, bending your left knee.
- Press your heel into the ground to increase the stretch.
This is a great stretch to do throughout the day, not just after runs.
- Step your right foot back about a foot. Keeping your feet parallel, bend both your knees.
- Press your right heel into the ground as you shift your weight forward to increase the stretch.
It's important to keep the deep calf muscles loose to prevent problems with the sole of your foot, like plantar fasciitis.
IT Band Stretch
- Cross your left leg behind you, putting weight on the outside of your left foot. Reach your left arm toward the sky.
- Press your left hip out to the side to increase the stretch of your left IT band. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
The IT band runs down the outside of your leg, and when it gets tight, it can mess with your knee joint. Keep it loose with this stretch after every run.
Hamstring and ITB Stretch
- Cross your feet with the right foot in front, and bend forward at your waist.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
This stretch lengthens the IT band and the hamstrings.
Sumo With a Twist
- In a wide stance with your toes pointing out, bend your knees, so your thighs are parallel to the ground and knees are at 90 degrees.
- With your hands on your thighs, straighten your right arms to twist to the left. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Give your back and inner thighs some relief by adding a twist to your sumo squat.