One of the most important parts of running is also the part that is often the most overlooked…stretching. It’s easy to lace up our shoes and go for the run. After our runs, it’s easy to sit down and call it a day. However, we are doing a disservice to our body by just running and stopping there.

Over the years many runners have debated what the best stretches are, when the best time to do them is and how long you should do them for. I’ve researched, tested and learned my lessons through many of these theories.

I learned from experience.

When I first got back into running, I ignored stretching all together. As it turns out, that can result in injury. Through training for a half marathon, I realized that my IT band had some issues with it. They were minor issues and nothing that would end a running career, but it was frustrating none the less. More importantly… it was avoidable.

Why stretching after a run matters?

There have been a number of debates over the years on when to stretch, before or after a run. Ultimately, many doctors, physical therapists, coaches, etc. have come to the conclusion that static stretching AFTER your run is better.

The biggest mistake many runners make is stretching cold muscles before they run. This can result in injuries, pulled muscles and really hurt you in the long run. When it comes to the benefits of stretching after your run, RunnersWorld Explained It Best:

“The only benefit to doing static stretches is to increase range of motion. But that’s why you do it after exercise—you already have the blood in your muscles, and now you can get a real nice, deep stretch in and lengthen your muscles,”

By increasing your range of motion, you can help prevent injury by taking some of the pressure off of your joints that are taking the pounding while running.

5 Stretches To Complete After Running

Get your stretching guide here

While I am not a coach, I have found five stretches to be extremely helpful each time I run. When I am talking to friends who are new runners, this is always one of my biggest pieces of advice… stretch when you’re done. You will be less sore, your muscles will thank you and you can help prevent injury while running. I put together these five stretches that I do each time I run for you to download and save.

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So tell me, do you stretch after you run?