So, you just picked up running? No doubt the beginner running tips are starting to roll in. How to get faster, how to start feeling a little less miserable, how to prevent cramps, and how to reduce soreness. But along with this, most runners often forget the running stretches for beginners.
Well, you’re in luck! In this post, we discuss which are the best stretches for runners and one of the most IMPORTANT beginners running tips on how to stretch after running for building longevity as a healthy runner. Don’t forget to include them in your running program to get the best results from your running workouts.
Like any other physical activity, running requires strength. Strength requires muscle. And, muscle requires regular maintenance.
You don’t expect any other machine (your car, refrigerator, blow dryer) to operate day in and day out for you without your taking care of it.
The same goes for your body…and more specifically, your running body. You’ve GOT to be stretching, every SINGLE day. Let me repeat that.
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Lucky for you, the research has already been done. So let’s break “stretching” down for you!
By now, you’ve probably realized how different your body feels before and after you run.
Pre-run: Achy quads, hip flexors, and calf muscles, cold, stiff lower back, your breathing is shallow
Post-run: Warm, sweaty, more mobile, you’re able to take longer, deeper breaths
Knowing this, one of our running tips for beginners is that stretching incorrectly can get you injured, quick! Doing harsh, static (still) stretching exercises before you’re warmed up is like yanking on a rotten rubber band. It’s not going to be pretty.
Understanding these differences from the get-go will benefit you greatly, and most importantly help you in preventing running injuries!
Ok, so you just finished your run. Maybe you walked some, but you definitely ran.
You’re sweaty, out of breath, and probably ready to stop moving. Try this out:
Complete 5-10 breaths of BOTH stretches on EACH leg.
Another post-run favorite. Try this:
Here’s a bonus:
Repeat everything on the other side!
The last of our beginner running tips for unwinding after your run. Here’s how it works:
We know how many beginners running tips are out there, overwhelming you from every angle–on the internet, from your seasoned runner friends, in books, magazines, apps…the list goes on.
If you take nothing else away from this post, remember that your body can’t work for you if you don’t work for it! You’ve got 24 hours in your day. A stretching routine can take you less than 10 minutes a day. Trust us, these running stretches for beginners are worth it!
The best stretching routine will involve loosening up and relaxing the entire body. Many runners make the mistake of only focusing on their lower body, but muscle tension in the neck and shoulders can be equally detrimental to your running health.
Downward dog is hands-down (get it?) the best stretching exercise for beginners. It’s easy to do, works a broad range of muscles, and feels downright wonderful. Plus, you can do it anywhere without a mat or any equipment.
Take it slow. Make sure you do a short 5-minute cooldown first, and then start from your toes and work your way up to your neck.
Keep it light, and only stretch before a run after you’ve warmed up a bit. It’s best to jog for 10 minutes or a mile before doing any pre-run stretches to avoid pulling anything that’s still tight.
The best pre-run stretches are more dynamic, such as lunges, leg kicks, and the like. Static stretches are best saved for after the run.
Download our new mobile app full of tips, videos, training advice from running coaches, and motivation to get you started. We have more running stretches for beginners, post-run stretches, pre-run stretches, and more. Don’t forget to check out our broad range of training programs to help you reach your running and fitness goals, too!