8 Best Pre-Run Stretches You Should Do For a Better Run

Most people share a common running experience. You start off feeling slow and sluggish – wondering how long you’ve been running for and when it will be over – then something shifts. The body goes from heavy and stiff to warm and ready to run for miles.

This applies to all runners. Even the most experienced long-distance lovers have days when they’re just not feeling it or when their body needs a little more to warm up. It’s normal; however, there are certain things you can do to speed up the process.

A perfect running warm-up begins by doing the proper pre-run stretches. These simple movements have a profound effect on the whole run. From the first strides you take until you reach the finish line, a little bit of stretching goes a long way.

Here are 8 stretches you need to start doing before every run.

1. Walking Lunge

Not only do walking lunges loosen up the major muscles used while running — specifically, the quads and hip flexors — but they also simulate the forward motion of running, which makes them particularly useful as a pre-run stretch, says Seamster.

  1. Stand with your feet together, and then take a long step forward with your right foot.
  2. Bend the front knee to 90 degrees and the back knee until it almost touches the ground.
  3. Stay here for a few seconds before rising up and take another big step forward on your left leg to get the stretch on your left side.
  4. Continue this way for about 10 lunges (five on each side).

2. Hip Flex or Stretch

If you sit at a desk all day, you probably have tight hip flexors, since they’re constantly in a state of flexion. This makes this pre-run stretch extra important before you work out, says Schultz.

  1. Start in a lunge with your front knee at 90 degrees.
  2. Begin to straighten your back leg, so you feel a stretch along the front of your back thigh. Keep your front knee aligned over your toes.
  3. Raise your arms over your head and hold for a few seconds, and then release.
  4. Continue in a dynamic motion, shifting forward as you raise your arms up, and then lowering your arms as you come back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat five times on each side.
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