Running Stretching Routine

A consistent running stretching routine enables runners to overcome the rigors of the road smoothly and makes them resistant to injuries.

by Brad Walker | First Published October 14, 2010 | Updated August 31, 2017

By incorporating a regular running stretching routine into your running training, you can improve your personal best times and help reduce the chance of those annoying running injuries.

Muscles used in Running

Video stretching routine for runningKnowledge about which muscles are involved in running helps in the design of a customized and well-programmed running stretching routine. Professional runners may have running styles unique to them, but key motions of the sport are common to all. When you are running, almost all the muscles of the body get used.

Among the primary muscles, the quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius), the hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris long head and biceps femoris short head), gluteus maximus, iliopsoas (iliacus and psoas major) and calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) are at work during running.

While it may seem that the legs are doing all the work there are a number of supporting muscles that are also very important, including: the shoulders and upper arms, the upper abdominals and the lower back muscles. The external and internal intercostal muscles also function during running.

The Benefits of a Running Stretching Routine

A proper running stretching routine is crucial to overcome the rigors of running. Running, no doubt, improves our overall health, especially energy levels and the cardiovascular system. However, it sometimes tightens the muscles, minimizing flexibility. If you follow a proper stretching routine, your muscles are bound to become more flexible and resistant to soreness. Stretching as part of a cool-down also helps to flush out waste products, like lactic acid, and enhances recovery.

Finally, even the most basic running stretching routine can just make you feel better. Glossing over it in your regular running training, however, could cost you dearly.

Despite the numerous benefits, it is important to bear in mind that stretching can have detrimental effects when done incorrectly. Improperly done stretches can over time cause permanent damage to ligaments and joint. When performing the stretching routine below, be sure to warm up first and if any of the exercises cause pain or severe discomfort, discontinue immediately. Review my article on the rules for safe stretching for more information.

Watch the Running Stretching Routine

Click on the play button below to watch the 10 minute running stretching routine video.

The Stretching Handbook, DVD & CD-ROMWhile the recommendations on this page are a good starting point, you'll get a lot more benefit when you include a wider variety of stretches.

To do away with stiff, tight muscles and joints, and become loose, limber and pain free, grab a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility. In no time you'll...

  • Improve your freedom of movement and full-body mobility;
  • Get rid of those annoying aches, pains and injuries; and
  • Take your flexibility (and ease of movement) to the next level.

If you’d like to be able to bend, reach and turn without restriction or discomfort, all the stretches you need are right here.

You'll get 135 clear photographs and 44 video demonstrations of unique stretching exercises for every major muscle group in your body. The DVD includes 3 customized stretching routines (8 minutes each) for the Upper Body; the Lower Body; and the Neck, Back & Core. While the Handbook will show you, step-by-step, how to perform each stretch correctly and safely.

Get back to the activities you love. Whether it’s enjoying your favorite sport, or walking the dog, or playing with the grand kids. Imagine getting out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step. Or being able to work in the garden without “paying-for-it” the next day.

A whole new level of comfort and freedom is waiting for you. Click here to discover how to improve your flexibility and fitness, and become loose, limber and pain free!


Brad Walker - AKA The Stretch CoachAbout the Author: Brad is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 100's of testimonials. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.