Post Run Stretch: Essential Routine For Busy Runners

Dr. Chloe in a split stance with her back knee bent, hands on hips, demonstrating a lunge stretch as a post run stretch

I feel like there are 2 types of runners in this world… The runner who loves the pre-run warm up, and the runner that loves the post run cool down.  Whether you like it or not, both are imperative to having a healthy body that will keep you running.  I know it’s hard to hear and we are culprits of it too!  That’s why we want to commiserate with you… But, since we love what we do so much we definitely don’t want to get injured.  That’s why this quick post run stretch routine is perfect for the runner who either doesn’t have time, or wants to quickly get on with their day! 

Should I Stretch Immediately After Running?

The short answer is YES.  You should stretch immediately after your run or any other kind of physical activity in general. Right after your run, your muscles are warm.  That means you’ll be able to get deeper into your stretches and elongate those muscles.  Why is that important?  Longer muscles improves flexibility.  

Stretching also helps to reduce muscle soreness and most importantly – prevent injury. That last part should be the kicker there.  Injury prevention is key! Nobody wants to be stuck with tweaks, strains, or sprains as the season is just starting up!  

What Happens if I Don't Stretch After Running?

If you skip the post-run stretch, you may experience a range of unpleasant consequences. Your muscles may become tight and stiff.  These tight muscles lead to decreased range of motion and increased risk of injury (again with that injury stuff…..). You may also experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).   I’m sure everyone has experienced 2nd day sore… that’s exactly what DOMS is.  Just going down the stairs can be difficult!

Dr. Chloe working through her shin splints injury recovery re-entry phase.

Post-Run Standing Stretch Routine for Busy Runners

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hours stretching to reap the benefits. We created a simple 5-6 minute standing stretch routine that can be done anywhere!  It’s highly effective in helping your body recover and prepare for your next run.

Dr. Chloe in a split stance with her right leg back, left foot in front with her back knee slightly bent.  She is pointing to her right hip as she tucks her pelvis to stretch that right side.

Getting into a split stance, the standing lunge stretch tackles your hip flexor and quad.  You’ll want to sink into the back knee and tuck your pelvis.  This helps you stretch through the front of your leg.  Hold each side for 30 seconds.

Dr. Chloe balancing on her left leg with her right leg crossed on top in a 4 position.  She keeps her back straight and chin up for her post run stretch

Balance on 1 leg, bend your standing knee slightly, and create a 4 over top of your standing knee with your “free leg”.  Keep your back flat and think about tilting your pelvis forward.  You’re going to get a nice stretch through your glutes!  This one can be a little harder because of balancing.  Feel free to stand by a chair, bench, pole, or wall in case you need some assistance!  Hold each side for 30 seconds.

Repeat these stretches 2 more times (3 rounds in total).  This takes approximately 6 minutes to complete!  Don’t get me wrong… are these the best stretches in the world you could be doing?  No.  But!  It’s much more about doing them and doing them well.  Doing any stretch to the best of your ability is much better than not doing the ideal stretch because you don’t have time or don’t want to get on the ground.

Learn More About These Post Run Stretches in Dr. Chloe's Video

Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust the intensity and duration of your stretches as needed. Consistency is key, so if you’re not planning on a full stretch session try to incorporate these post run stretches every time you run!  

Have More Time On Your Hands?

Try this amazing 15 minute Post Run Stretch Follow Along!  It’s 5 stretches that will give you full body post run relief!  It feels soooo good!  We did a post about it too!  Read Me 

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