Runners- what is your stretching routine?

Hello everyone,

I've been searching for a good stretching routine for before my runs. There are a LOT of things online, so I would like to know what routine you follow. Hopefully, I'll be able to figure things out for myself- I'm sick of not stretching and knowing I'm just hurting myself not doing so.



  • Rincewind_1965
    Rincewind_1965 Posts: 639 Member
    Before a run: don't even think about stretching


  • RuNaRoUnDaFiEld
    RuNaRoUnDaFiEld Posts: 5,864 Member
    You shouldn't stretch before.

    After I do downward dog and pigeon yoga stretches.
  • RulaAsaad
    RulaAsaad Posts: 71 Member
    huh... i wonder why everybody says i should do it to avoid injury
  • RuNaRoUnDaFiEld
    RuNaRoUnDaFiEld Posts: 5,864 Member
    Who's everyone?

    You are statistically more likely to injure yourself stretching cold muscles.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
    I never stretch beforehand. The first couple of kilometres are an opportunity to warm up.

    I'll sometimes think about it afterwards.
  • JessM822
    JessM822 Posts: 73 Member
    I don’t beforehand. I usually go for a little run around the block before I actually start my run. You may want to stretch a little afterwards though or stretch before bed.
    Everyone’s different though. Everyone has an opinion too. Find what works for you. Your body will tell you what it likes.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    A 5 minute brisk walk followed by 5 min slow running.

    Stretching before, esp static stretching tends to increase injury and reduce measured strength.
  • KarenSmith2018
    KarenSmith2018 Posts: 301 Member
    Cold muscles shouldn't be stretched as they are likely to get injured. Start off slow for the first mile OR do some dynamic movements such as on the spot jogging, squats, burpees, lunges etc to get muscles prepped for the run. I stretch after: calves, hamstrings, quads, hips sides and arms.
  • fitoverfortymom
    fitoverfortymom Posts: 3,452 Member
    I usually stretch after, if I remember. I do some hip strengthening work in the evenings. I could be better about post-run stretching.
  • RulaAsaad
    RulaAsaad Posts: 71 Member
    Awesome! Thank you all
  • brendanwhite84
    brendanwhite84 Posts: 220 Member
    I'm a long distance runner (taking a winter break) and I've never stretched before or after in my 4 years of doing it. :smile:
  • MonkeyMel21
    MonkeyMel21 Posts: 2,388 Member
    I've been a runner since high school and go through phases of not stretching much (mostly calf stretches) to stretching/yoga type stuff. I have discovered that I do feel better over all when I take the time to focus on stretching. Recently I started using fitnessblender and there's a 3 day stretching/flexibility challenge that I just did. I've decided I'm going to start incorporating some of those stretches in to my daily routine. It doesn't have to be right after a run, it can be while you're in your living room watching TV. Do what works for you!
  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,575 MFP Moderator
    I dont routinely stretch before or after my run, but I stretch alot when I am randomly sitting around watching tv and stuff.

    I have issues with IT band if I don't stretch well at least once a week it seems, pidgeon seems to help me with that the most.
  • speedingticket
    speedingticket Posts: 73 Member
    I've been running on and off since the age of about 5-6. Never bother stretching, much to some people's dismay. The recommendation is to stretch only after exercise. The evidence for the benefit of stretching is quite mixed. I've evaluated the evidence and on balance I choose not to bother. I see a sports therapist every 6-10 weeks who assesses my range of motion and I do whatever he tells me to if I'm tight anywhere. As someone with relatively good flexibility (for a runner anyway, I'm no gymnast) it's usually not a big issue. I do foam roll, though (despite the evidence for that being quite mixed too).

    I like this dudes channel, though, if you want to learn more about improving your flexibility. It's one of those annoying things which happens very slowly and needs to be worked at very consistently.
  • sjp_511
    sjp_511 Posts: 476 Member
    I don’t stretch, but I do spend a few minutes doing something similar to this:

    My hips and back also love it when I do some yoga routines separate from my running and weightlifting workouts.
  • RGv2
    RGv2 Posts: 5,789 Member
    Before a run: don't even think about stretching

    Ditto. Usually a 1 min warmup walk. I notice that the people at the gym who do the most elaborate static stretching before running are usually the ones that need to stop every 2-3 min to stretch something out again.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,840 Member
    Yep, static stretching cold muscles is a no-no.

    I alternate strength days with running days, and if I don't do something to lengthen my muscles before running after a legs day, they are really tight. Usually I do dynamic stuff like butt kicks and knee raises until my hams and quads stop feeling tight, followed by rocker squats (squat, then alternate heel and toe lifts) which someone told me is good for preventing shin splints. I have no idea whether this is true, but anecdotally my shin splits stopped when I started it. Then a five minute walk before running.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,835 Member
    Static stretching

    Most of us learned how to warm up many years ago in elementary or middle school PE classes. Much of that is now out-of-date. Today, recent research indicates that static stretching is not the best for a runner. In fact, one recent study found that static stretching before a run lead to slower starts and a greater perceived effort. Other studies show that even the simple sit-and-reach stretch can decrease your ability to stride naturally.

    Instead, a dynamic warmup appears to prepare your muscles more effectively.

    Static stretching for 30 to 60 seconds lengthens the muscle, but in doing so it also appears to affect the signals between the muscle and the brain, triggering a protective reflex that prevents the muscle from being overstretched. Therefore, muscles become inhibited and are not able to contract as forcefully. This reflex decreases the strength and power of the muscle for a short time afterward.

    A dynamic warmup refers to moving your muscles through a wide range of motion that simulates the running movement. Think of it as lubricating your joints before a run. Start with these 5 Warmup Moves that can be done before every run.
  • apullum
    apullum Posts: 4,838 Member
    I don’t do any formal warmup or cooldown. I just walk to and from the street corner where I start my run. I do try to foam roll each day.