I love getting a good stretch in after running, not just because it feels so good but also because it’s good for you. I’ve written a blog post previously about eight great post-race stretches, but that was seven years ago so it was time for an update!
A lot of people also search for useful running tips on Youtube, so as a companion piece to my running warm-up vlog from the end of last year I’ve edited together essential post-run cool down stretches you can do anywhere!
Personal preference, but I don’t like sitting on the ground to stretch unless I have a mat or towel. The problem is after a run I don’t often bring a mat or towel with me. So these cool down stretches I present have no seated or prone positions.
I usually stretch from the head down to my toes, so here’s a quick rundown of the stretches I show:
- Neck – because we hold our head in a fixed position while running (to avoid getting dizzy from all the motion!), we can build up a lot of tension in the neck area by the time we’ve finished.
- Shoulder, Chest, & Back – an efficient use of the arm swing is part of good running form, so stretching out the shoulders, chest, and back should keep these involved body parts from tightening up.
- Side (Lateral) – the lateral muscles of your body help keep you upright when running, so reach up and out and give them some lovin’.
- Twisting Lunge – a dual-purpose stretch will release tension in your back and help lengthen out your hip flexors.
- Quadriceps – stretch out the largest muscle involved in running.
- Hamstrings – lengthen the muscle that partners with the quads to power your run stride.
- Figure Four – targets hip area and glutes.
- Deep Squat – releases hips, lower back, and calf area.
- Calf – these muscles provide the spring in your step, so take care of them and stretch them out.
Watch my Essential Run Cool Down Stretches vlog below.