Basic Stretches for Runners

A juris doctor graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law, Kyle Kirts is licensed to practice in Ohio, where he has served as an attorney for over 15 years. Kyle T. Kirts also enjoys running, and came in third in his age group in the 2013 Mattoon Knights of Columbus 5K event.

Whether going on a light jog or running a marathon, stretching is an important part of a safe and injury-free workout experience. One of the most important things to remember about an effective stretching routine is to take your time; rushing through the process can tighten muscles rather than loosen them, and may create more issues than not stretching at all.

Walking lunges. From a standing position, take a big step forward. Then, bring your knee above your ankle and your thigh parallel with the ground. Bring your other leg forward and rise into a standing position. Repeat the step with your other leg. With practice, perform the lunges fluidly and repeat 10 times for each leg.

Calf stretch. Lean forward with one or both hands against a wall or similar solid object. Put one leg back and gently stretch its heel toward the ground. Repeat the process with the other leg. You should feel gentle stretching pressure along your calf, but be careful not to overdo the motion and strain your muscle.

Side stretch. To avoid common issues like side stitches, stretch your sides before running. First, keep your abdominal muscles tight and raise your arms straight over your head. Then, bend at your waist and lean first to one side and then to the other. Hold the pose at each side for two breaths, and repeat.