8 Essential Stretches You Need to Be Doing After a Run

If most runners aren’t doing active warm up drills before a run and taking the time to properly prep their body for a run, I’m going to go out on a limb and say these same runners probably aren’t cooling down from those runs either.

The 8 stretches to do after finishing a run
8 stretches all runners should be doing after their run

Taking care of ourselves in the few minutes before a run and in the minutes after our running can extend our running careers, keep little injuries at bay, and prepare us for our future runs.

Below, I’m going to outline why distance runners should be warming up before a run, but primarily I’ll be focusing on the 10-20 minutes after a run that runners are failing to capitalize on.

The 8 stretches that all runners should be following when they finish up a run. Details on #TrainwithMarc’s blog.

8 easy-to-follow stretching routine for distance runners
Stretching routine for distance runners to follow

Reasons to Warm Up

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on what an active warm up routine would look like and why it’s so important to do some non-running moving, running drills, before we head out for a run. Prior to that, I wrote a post on the exact warm up routine I do before a race. It’s my opinion that not enough runners are preparing to run prior to a race. This post was in direct response to me seeing a race with the majority of the runners standing still in the minutes (and hour) prior to their race. Lastly, I wrote a post about injury prevention strategies and focused on stretching – both prior to running and after running. I’d like to dig deeper into that post as I feel there is a disconnect between calling yourself a runner and doing the things necessary to become a good runner.

Part of this process is taking care of your muscles and joints. One fantastic way we can take care of ourselves is by warming up, but more generally, it’s by stretching. Taking 10 minutes post-run to stretch is a great way to begin the recovery process from running.

5 Reasons to Cool Down

Cooling down after your run is a really smart choice. Give yourself a pat on the back if you regularly take a few minutes after your run to stretch.

If you don’t, not to worry. You’ll find the key stretches you should do to keep your body feeling good! Here are 5 reasons why you should be cooling down after a run:

  • Reduces heart rate
  • Slows breathing
  • Focuses on relaxation
  • Improves range of motion

A static stretch routine for runners to use after a run
Stretching routine for all distance runners to perform after a run

Stretches You Can Do

Outlined below are the 8 stretches you can do that don’t take a lot of time.

Quad Stretch

Hamstring Stretch

IT Band Stretch

Rag Doll Stretch

Calf Stretch

Arm Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

Glute Stretch

When you’re finished with the stretches, though, there’s two more quick activities you can do that will continue to improve your recovery: foam roll and put your legs up the wall. These 8 stretches, plus a few minutes of self-care can greatly improve your running – and I know you want to improve your running!

Post-run stretching routine for runners to follow
Stretching routine for runners to follow after completing a run

Benefits to your Running

You’ll see some huge gains in your fitness simply from the fact that your muscles and joints are loose. More over, you’ll be flexible; muscles and joints will be able to move through a greater range of motion. Besides the benefits to your stride and flexibility, you’ll be more likely to take better care of yourself in the minutes after a run. Starting the recovery process as soon as possible gives you the best chance of having a good run the next time you lace up.

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know by leaving a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

Marc is a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!


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9 thoughts on “8 Essential Stretches You Need to Be Doing After a Run

  1. deborahbrooks14 October 9, 2019 — 8:09 AM

    The IT band stretch is one of my favorites and the pigeon. Thanks for the reminder


  2. You betcha. Ooh, yeah, gotta get back to doing pigeon pose. I need some of that!


  3. I love the IT band and hip stretch. I have such tight hips and doing this stretch helps my legs feel better,


  4. Kim at Running on the Fly October 9, 2019 — 11:12 PM

    I also like the IT band stretch, as well as the Pigeon. My hips are always tight, and these stretches really feel great after running.


  5. you cant beat a good old stretch, especially after a workout!


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