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4 Essential Stretches for Every Runner

The OhioHealth team outlines four of the best stretches to do before running.

Whether you’re running a virtual 5k or jogging around the block, you know running comes with its share of aches and pains. But — surprise! — it doesn’t need to be that way. Usually, a little bit of preventive stretching and mobility work, your hips, knees and ankles will be happy and healthy.

Use these four stretches for runners to compliment any training program. Start with 10 minutes of light cardio, then perform each stretch for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat.

1. Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Make sure your front knee stays at a 90-degree angle. You don’t want your knee to go past your toe.
  • Keep your chest up and push forward at your hips. You should feel this in the front of the back leg.
  • Repeat on both legs.

2. Hamstring Stretch

  • Make sure the front leg stays straight and your foot is facing the ceiling and flexed.
  • With your back straight, lean forward at the hips. You should feel this in the back of your leg.
  • Repeat on both legs.

3. Piriformis Stretch

  • Lie on your back and cross one ankle over the other knee.
  • Grab behind the knee and pull that leg towards you while you push the other knee away. You should feel this in the outside of your hip and buttock.
  • Repeat on both legs.

4. Heel Cord Stretch

  • Face a wall and step forward. Keep your heels down and your toes pointed straight ahead.
  • Keeping your back straight, lean forward at the hip toward the wall.
  • Repeat on both legs.

Need more than these stretches for runners to take your training to the next level? Visit the OhioHealth Runner’s Clinic for running technique analysis, personalized nutrition consulting, shoe evaluation and more.