You may notice after a run, your body feels sore. This is a key indicator that both rest and recovery are needed. It’s essential to stretch after a run, and you may even incorporate stretches into your pre-run routine. As a part of your warmups, you can add in a few dynamic stretches such as leg swings, spinal rotations, and arm circles. These exercises gently warm up your muscles so that they're ready for more intense activity. After your workout is done, you’ll want to perform static (doesn't involve motion) stretches.
Here are a few stretches you can do for the recovery process after your running exercise.
1. Hamstring Stretch
Step 1: Sit on an exercise mat with one leg extended straight in front of you.
Step 2: Bend the other leg and place your foot against the inner thigh of the leg that is extended. The knee that is bent should be close to the floor.
Step 3: Grasp the ankle of the bent leg with the same side hand and reach for the ankle of your extended leg with the other hand.
Step 4: Hold the stretch for approximately 15 counts and then relax the stretch.
Step 5: Repeat on the other side.
2. Quad Stretch
Step 1: Stand straight (don't lean forward), lift the foot of your cramping leg up behind you, and grab your foot with your hand on that side.
Step 2: Pull your heel gently toward your butt, feeling a stretch in your quad.
Step 3: Keep your other leg straight and try to keep your knees as close together as possible.
Step 4: Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Release and repeat. Switch legs and repeat steps on the other leg.
3. Low Lunge Stretch
Step1: Step into a lunge position.
Step 2. Keep your toes pointed forward and your upper torso straight. Your back leg should be straight back behind you.
Step 3: Press down with your hands and extend the hips forward until you feel a stretch from the front of your hip and the top of your thigh (of your back leg).
Step 4: Hold 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.
These stretches target particular areas that frequently get tight during and after running. Make them part of your post-run routine to help improve your flexibility, comfort, and performance.