Top 10 Best Pre-run Stretches You Should Know About


“I just can’t do this anymore,”
“I feel more tired than energized,”
“Probably this running exercise idea sounded great in my head, but it’s not meant for me.”

In case you are wondering what is going on, this is how the story begins. I had decided to get into a great shape by doing some running exercises every morning. I not only wanted to be physically fit but also healthy and more productive plus all the other perks that exercises give you.


What I had not anticipated was how all this could go south if I did not do it properly. What I didn’t know was:

  • That even the slightest of jogs could shorten my muscles, making them taught and painful.
  • Stretching before and after a running exercise is actually medically recommended by most doctors as this warms up the body, getting it ready for the exercise as well as keeping it flexible. This way, my joints and muscles are in their full motion range.

If you have been doing running exercises, am sure you can agree with me that learning about the best pre-run stretches, where they are affected and how to do them has gone a long way into making you look forward to your running sessions. For those that are considering the running exercise, you are most welcome to learn about the pre-run stretches that will help you get settled into this awesome activity.

What is more, I will share with you how to do these stretches in as much detail as I can.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

There are about ten areas of the body that need stretching before you get into the running proper. These ten areas each have their own sets of stretches that when followed guarantee a holistic kind of body stretch. By stretching out these ten areas, you get to do the ten best recommended pre-run stretches.

You can decide to do all of these ten or just as well those that work for you, remember:

  • We are all different.
  • These stretches are done before and after the exercise.

Right then, all you need from here hence is a mat, some free space and your workout attire.


Quadriceps or quads, entail the muscles that cover the sides and mostly the front of your thighs. Stretching these is of particular importance for uphill or downhill movement during exercise.

How to do it?

  • Standing upright, pull your right leg and the corresponding hand behind you.
  • Tuck in your pelvis as you pull your shin towards your thigh.
  • Keep your knee pointed downwards while you do this to protect your knee joints.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds then switch to your left side.

You don’t have to begin with your right side; any side can do. You can use as well a chair for balancing yourself. If you feel the stretch in the front of your thigh and from the hip down to the knee, you are doing it right.


These muscles constitute the back of your thigh, being stretched right from the hip down to the knee.

How to do it?

  • Sitting on the ground, extend your right leg.
  • If possible, move your left foot towards your right leg’s inner thigh so that it touches the top part of your right leg.
  • Lean forward by bending your back and your waist towards the right foot as if you are reaching for your toes. Ensure you do not round your back.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds then switch legs.

Be wary so as to not pull your toes back during this kind of a stretch. If you feel it in the back of your thigh, right from your knees to your buttocks, you are doing it right.


These are the muscles at the back of your lower legs. They are especially important to stretch after running. Poor calf stretching can result in injury and soreness.

How to do it?

  • Stand with the left foot behind your right foot.
  • Bend your right leg forwards while at the same time keeping your left leg straight.
  • Ensure that you do not bend the left knee and that you keep your left foot planted firmly on the ground, pointed straight ahead.
  • Straightening your back, hold this position for 30 seconds then switch legs.

If you feel the stretch anywhere from the back of the knee down to the ankles, you are doing it right.

Iliotibial band.

This muscle runs on the outsides of your thighs between the hip and the shin. New runners especially need to watch out since pushing yourself too hard often results in the injury to this area.

How to do it.

Position yourself next to a wall or something that can be used for balance.

  • Cross your right ankle behind your left ankle.
  • Stretch your right arm over your head while balancing on your left arm.
  • Lean forwards and reach towards your left side.Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

If you feel the stretch in your right leg (and vice versa) when your right ankle is crossed behind your left ankle as you are leaning towards the left, you are doing it right.


This is the muscle of the gluteal region that helps to stabilize the pelvis and the hip. Every time we make a step, this muscle is in motion.

How to do it.

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground.
  • Pull your left knee up to the chest.
  • Grab your left knee with your right hand and pull it up to your right shoulder.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds and then switch sides.

If you feel it in the buttocks near your hip, you are doing it right.


Pronounced as the “so-az”, this is that muscle at the front of your spine which connects your lower back to your upper thigh.

How to do it.

  • Put your left foot forwards so that you lunge.
  • Keep your shoulders and chest upright, push back your pelvis and tighten your buttocks.
  • Lean slightly forwards till you feel a stretch.
  • Hold that position for 30 seconds then switch sides.

If you feel the front of your hip stretch on the back of your leg stretch, you are doing it right.

Gluteal muscles.

These are basically the muscles of your buttocks and are especially important for runners since if properly taken care of, they can increase the performance of your running.

How to do it.

  • Lie on your back and then bend your knees to place your feet flat on the ground.
  • Cross your left ankle over your right knee.
  • Grasp behind your right knee and then bring your right leg towards your chest.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds then switch sides.

If you feel the stretch on your buttocks, you are doing it right.


This refers to the muscle between the stomach and the thigh, the general area around the hip.

How to do it.

  • Stand with both your feet spread slightly far apart in a wide stance.
  • Without moving the right leg, lean left and bend your left knee till you feel a stretch.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds and then switch sides.

If you feel the stretch in your inner thighs, you are doing it right.

Spine stretch.

While running on harder surfaces, for example, sidewalks can place additional stress on the spine which causes pain and tightness.

How to do it.

  • Lie down on the right side.
  • Keep your right leg straight while bending your left knee such that your left leg touches your chest.
  • Rotate your left leg till your knee touches the ground at the front of the right leg.
  • Rotate your left arm, upper back and head to the left till you feel a stretch.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds and then switch sides.

If you feel your spine stretching, you are doing it right.

Lower back.

This is the specially important part that supports the body; those runners should take care of.

How to do it.

  • Lie on your back.
  • Grab and pull both of the knees to the chest till you feel a stretch.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds.

For those that are avid video watchers like myself, just watch a YouTube video as far as pre-run stretches are concerned.


And that is all there is to any pre-stretches before running. I hope you did enjoy reading through these as much as I enjoyed sharing these tips with you. Remember, effective running performance is made better by ensuring that all the important muscles and joints are in full motion range. This is guaranteed by making sure that you get to do these stretches before and after each running session.

I would also recommend laying off running if you tend to feel pain during working out these stretches as this could indicate an underlying injury. Have a medical doctor check you out before taking any further steps.

Let me know what you think here in the comment section below; your feedback is highly appreciated. Go, go, go!...


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