best stretches for runners

Fitness Friday - Triangle Pose


I love yoga. It centers me, calms me and stretches out parts of my body that I didn't even know I had. Yoga is a great way to stretch post run. I like doing a short yoga sequence after runs or workouts because it doesn't feel like stretching to me. I breath deeper in a yoga pose and actually spend a bit more time in each pose versus just stretching time. 

A few of my favorite poses are Downward Facing Dog, Forward Bend (hello hamstrings!), Triangle pose (pictured), Side Angle Pose and Legs Up the Wall pose.

Recently, Triangle pose has been my go-to stretch after a run or spin class. I love it because it stretches the inside of my legs (adductors), hips, sidebody and my shoulders. If you are unfamiliar with yoga, take a few beginner classes so you can hear how to get into the poses and have the instructor adjust you - it hards to feel where your body truly is in space! Next, get a book (Rodney Yee's instruction is a personal favorite) or print out some easy yoga sequences. The Sun Salutations are a great and fairly easy to learn sequence that will stretch you out and calm you after a workout.


Strength Move of the Week: Dynamic Warm Up

As running coaches who promote long term, injury-free running, strength work is always a part of our recommended weekly routine for every runner out there. So, where to start? Start with just one move a week and build from there. Hot Bird Running has you covered with our Strength Move of the Week!

Move of the Week: Dynamic Warm Up
Why we love this? Before diving into a strength workout or a run, you need to warm up the body. Specifically, you want to perform a set of exercises that increases blood flow to your muscles, increases your heart rate and awakens the nervous system to improve neuro-muscular control during your workout. The benefit? A significant decrease in the likelihood of overuse injuries and muscles prepared to maximize the impending workout. 

Below is a video demonstrating our recommendation for a simple, yet effective, dynamic warm up to do before any run. Before beginning this routine, walk briskly, jog slowly or do some jumping jacks for a few minutes.  Also, remember to ease into each activity progressively.  For example, start with high knee marches and then transition into high knee runs. Lastly, as you do these exercises, actively control your movemens by contracting your muscles. This prevents forcing your joints to extend beyond their natural range of motion.  

Stretching for the Busy Runner

There are two types of stretches - dynamic and static. We recommend you perform both on a regular basis and in addition to your running and fitness program. Dynamic stretching is best performed at the beginning of a workout because it preps your muscles for power, which you need for a run or any type of fitness class. Static stretching is best for post workout because it allows your muscles to lengthen and rest.


Run about 1 mile and then perform the following dynamic stretching exercises (do each over ~20 meters):

  • Forward/Back Leg Swings
  • Side to Side Leg Swings
  • High Knees Running (or High Knee March)
  • Butt Kicks
  • Lateral lunges

Post Run

We know you are busy and that stretching sometimes takes a back seat to showering, eating and relaxing post run. With that in mind, and knowing how we use to train, we created a guide to stretching for the busy runner. We recommend stretching the key muscles by performing the below stretches for 10-30 seconds immediately after your run. Do these BEFORE you go inside (unless it's really cold or rainy) so there's no option to forget.

  • Chest:  Interlace your fingers behind your back and move both hands down and away from you to stretch the front of the body.
  • Hamstrings:  Stand with feet together, bend your knees and slowly bend forward. Relax your neck. Slowly bend one leg and then the other to stretch each hamstring.
  • Hips:  Hold onto a railing for balance and cross the left ankle over the right knee. Sit back like you were sitting in a chair to stretch the whole hip area. Repeat on the other side.
  • Hip Flexor:  Step your right foot back and bend your left leg so your knee is directly over your ankle. Push back through your left heel to stretch your left hip flexor.
  • Quadriceps:  Hold onto a railing for balance. Bend your left leg so your heel moves towards your glutes. Grab the outside of the left foot with your left hand. Bring your knees into alignment, keeping the knee pointed straight down and back straight. Push your hip forward and bring your foot away from your body for a deeper quad stretch.