When I started running cross country in high school, we always stretched as a team before practices and games. After races, it was up to us to cooldown and stretch on our own, which sent the message that stretching after running wasn’t as important. Fast forward 20 years and stretching has been a hotly debated topic for at least two decades.
The latest researchers (mostly) agree that the most important thing is to stretch when your muscles are warm. For me, this means a half- to a full-mile warm-up and then some static...
While there’s much debate about whether you should stretch before or after you run—or whether you even need to stretch at all—there are a few stretches that help with the typical problem areas that runners have. Many runners end up with super tight muscles that restrict their movement and cause injury, so the goal of stretching is to increase muscle elasticity and improve your range of motion.
The main areas of concern for most runners include one, some, or all of these:
- Iliotibial band (IT band)
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