Stretching Technique for Runners
Running is the number one activity that strongly depends on leg muscles. If a leg muscle is sore or injured, a runner is going to have a difficult time getting back on the track. A strained muscle can take a few days to a few weeks to heal, depending on the injury.
Before any run, an experienced runner will always be seen stretching out their calf and hamstring muscles to ensure maximum flexibility and injury prevention. There are many stretches designed specifically for runners to get the full use out of their muscles and prevent strains, tears and cramping.
The most common and easiest form of stretching of the legs before a run is the quadriceps stretch. The quadriceps (muscles located in the front thighs) is one of the main muscles used in running so they are the most important muscle to stretch before and after a run. Simply stand on one foot and bend your knee up, grip onto the foot, and pull up slightly. Do this for a few seconds before releasing and repeating. Do it to the other leg for the same amount of time.
Lunging is also an excellent form of stretching for runners and should be done before and after the activity.
To step into a lunge position, after standing in a still position take one step forward with one leg and bend the knee while the other leg is stretched out behind you. Keep your toes pointed forward and your upper torso straight while pressing down on the knee with both hands until you feel a stretch from the top of your thigh on the back extended leg. Hold for about twenty seconds before switching sides.
A variation on this involves starting in the same lunging position, but walking while stretching out the leg. Take large steps and focus on a proper form.
A great stretch to do post-run is the standing calf stretch. Face directly towards a wall with your hands outreached against it at chest level. Then, place the ball of your right foot against the wall while leaning onto it until you feel a stretch in the calf. Make sure the ball of your foot remains against the wall while your legs remain straight.