8 POST-RUN STRETCHES FOR YOUR RECOVERY ROUTINE
Complement that runner’s high with a euphoric post-run routine of stretching and meditation.
WHY IS A POST-RUN ROUTINE IMPORTANT?
You conquered your run—now it’s time to cool your body down. Having a consistent stretching routine helps you achieve goals, from the everyday wins to the bigger milestone moments. Goals can mean lots of things besides running a race or achieving a best time; it can mean making slow and steady improvements, taking care of your body, and getting yourself ready for the next workout. To recover properly, post-run stretches are key to include in your cool down routine. You’ll feel the most benefits of stretching when your muscles are still warm from the workout, which can help prevent soreness and increase flexibility, helping you feel better the next day.
EIGHT ESSENTIAL POST-RUN STRETCHES
Give your legs some TLC by trying these lower body stretches after your run. Find a spot where you can get comfortable and relaxed, and consider using props to help extend each move if you are feeling tight.
1. Lie on your side with knees pulled toward chest, holding top ankle with top hand.
2. Contract top glute and pull leg back to feel stretch in front of thigh.
3. Hold for two seconds and return to starting position.
4. Complete set on one side before repeating on other.
Contract your top glute throughout the stretch. You’ll feel the stretching in the quadriceps and hip flexor of the top leg.
1. Lie on your back with both legs straight. Lift your right knee toward your chest, grasping behind the knee with both hands.
2. Straighten your right leg up toward the sky as much as possible. Hold the stretch for two seconds.
3. Relax and bend the knee toward your chest again.
4. Repeat the movement on your right side twice before repeating with the left leg.
Keep your lying down leg on the ground by flexing your foot and pushing your heel as far away as possible and contracting your glute. You’ll feel this pose stretching the hamstrings of your bent leg and the front of the upper thigh on the lying down leg.
Interior thigh stretch
1. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. With a straight back, lunge to one side by bending your knee, feeling a stretch in the interior of the opposite straight leg.
3. Return to the starting position by pushing through your hip.
4. Repeat the move in the opposite direction.
5. Continue alternating to feel the thigh stretch in both legs.
Keep your feet flat on the ground and straight ahead with your “working” knee behind your toes. You should feel the stretching in your glutes, groin, hamstrings and quads.
1. Sit on the floor in Pigeon Pose, with forward-facing knee and hip bent in front of you and your back leg straight behind you.
2. Bend forward at the waist, lowering your chest to the ground as you reach your arms straight out on the floor in front of you.
3. Hold this position for the 20 seconds.
4. Switch legs and repeat.
Only lower your chest as far as is comfortable, resting on your elbows or on a block if needed. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your front hip and the hip flexor of your back hip.
1. Stand with your back straight, knees unlocked, and arms at your sides.
2. Lift one foot off the ground and squat back and down a few inches with the other leg.
3. Contracting the glute of your standing leg, grab below your opposite knee with your same side hand and under the ankle with your other hand.
4. Extend your standing leg as you pull your opposite knee toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch.
5. Return to the starting position and repeat with your other leg.
6. Continue alternating to until you’ve stretched each hip three times.
Focus on standing tall, keeping your chest up throughout the move. You’ll feel the proper stretch in the outside of your hip.
Hip flexor stretch
1. Stand tall with your arms at your sides.
2. Step your right foot back into a lunge and contract your right glute.
3. Reach your right hand overhead and gently reach it toward the left, creating a slight bend your torso toward the left. Hold this position for three seconds.
4. Return to the starting position.
5. Repeat the movement with your left leg and left arm.
6. Continue alternating until you’ve stretched each hip flexor twice.
Keep your chest up and keep your back knee from touching the ground. You should feel the stretch in the hip flexor of your back leg, the glute and groin of your front leg as well as the side of your torso.
1. Stand up in a modified push-up position with your hands on something stable in front of you, with your feet flat on the floor in a split stance.
2. Slowly bend your front knee as you lower your arms like you are doing a push up; stop once you feel a stretch in the back calf.
3. Hold for one count and then return to the starting position.
4. Repeat as many times as feels good.
5. Switch legs and repeat.
Exhale as you lower your body to stretch your calf. You’ll feel the stretch in the back of your lower leg.
Lower back stretch
1. Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
2. Drop your head and round your upper back, taking a deep breath in.
3. Slowly drop your belly and lift your chest to arch your back as you exhale.
4. Return to the starting position and continue this movement.
When moving from flexion to extension, do so in segments. Start at your tail bone and work your way up to your neck. You will feel the stretch in your entire back. The stretch should feel good, so if you’re feeling any back pain, ease up or stop.
HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR POST-RUN ROUTINE
After you stretch and cool down, it’s important to fuel and hydrate your body with nutrients to help you recover from your workout. Eating a substantial snack within 30 minutes after your run will help repair your muscles and build strength. When it comes to what to eat after running, it’s really up to what your body responds well to. Typically, a mix of protein and carbohydrates is a great source for post-run nutrition but for a true meal plan, consult a registered dietician about your goals.
When you’re creating a post-run routine, it’s essential to take care of your mental health as well. Keeping a running log to track your miles and speed will give you a visual of your daily progress, helping you maintain your goals. Also try ending your routine with a meditation. For runners, it’s important to keep a clear head and stay focused on the path ahead, and meditation can help calm any anxiety and maintain motivation. Try out this 10-minute Guided Body Scan Meditation from our adidas YouTube channel to tune in with your body and mind to end your running routine on a calm note.
If you’re training for a marathon, check out our guide on how to improve mile time.
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