Photography by Rich Smith
Whether training for your next marathon or casually clocking miles on your lunch break, you can always count on running as an effective cardio workout – and it only requires a good pair of tennis shoes! But just as essential are the stretches you perform both before and after your run. Here, certified running coach Ginny Kelly shares her favorite dynamic and static stretches that can help prevent injury.
“Perform a few dynamic stretches as a warm-up for your run. These stretches, which involve movement, get the blood flowing to your muscles,” Kelly says.
Front Leg Swings
Support yourself on a wall or post with one hand and face straight ahead. Swing your right leg forward and back. Repeat with the left leg, completing 15-20 swings for each leg. Make sure to stand tall and keep your core engaged.
Stand up straight and place your feet about hip-width apart. Place your hands palms-down facing the ground with your elbows bent. Drive your right knee up to meet your right hand, then bring it back to the ground and immediately repeat with your left knee and left hand. Stay on the balls of your feet and engage your core. Perform this exercise for 30 seconds to one minute.
While jogging in place, bring your heels up to your meet your bottom, alternating between right leg and left leg. Perform this exercise for one minute.
“After your run, cool down with some static stretches (or slow, deep stretches). These stretches lengthen your muscles and help with range of motion,” Kelly says.
Start on the ground, extending your right leg out in front of you. Bring your left foot in close to your right knee and bend forward to grab the toes (or shin) of your right leg with your right hand. Repeat with the left leg. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. HS