How Do You Stretch Before Running?


Quick Answer

To stretch before running, make certain muscles are properly warmed up and stretch gradually. Breathe deeply, stretch both sides of the body, and resist any urge to bounce.

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Full Answer

Since stretching cold muscles can lead to injury, it is important to engage in low-impact exercise for several minutes prior to stretching. Increase range of motion gradually without rocking or bouncing. When a stretch has been extended to a comfortable limit, hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. If stretching becomes painful or produces tight muscles, discontinue the stretch immediately.

Give equal attention to both sides of the body, even if one side seems more limber. Focus on hamstrings, calves and quadriceps. Incorporate multiple stretches into a stretching routine, so all the critical joints are lubricated. Continue to breathe deeply from the stomach throughout each stretch.

Since everyone is different, a runner must pay close attention to the response of his body to stretching. Keep in mind that some people are more flexible than others, so do not make comparisons. Experiment with various stretches and stretching techniques to determine stretching effectiveness. When stretching is complete, ease into running rather than running at top speed immediately. If injury prevention is desired, combine stretching with strength- and cross-training exercises.

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