We’ve all done it: forgotten to stretch after a run because we’re eager to refuel and get on with our day.
But we all know that stretching is an important part of the training process – and if you skip a stretch, you may well regret it in the long run when injury is more likely to creep in.
We caught up with Sam Murphy, a coach and author of countless books on running, to get the low down on the essential stretches for runners that we can all squeeze into a routine.
Here are Murphy’s top five stretches to try after a run. Each stretch will take you a couple of minutes and leave you feeling much fresher the next time you head out.
Try to hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds on each leg.
Standing quad stretch
How: Standing on one leg (you can use a wall to balance) take hold of the top of the other foot and draw it towards your backside as your squeeze your knees together. You should feel it across front of the thigh.
Hip flexor stretch in a lunge position
How: Split your legs so one is forward and the other behind. Standing on the ball of the back foot come into a lunge position (you can bring your back knee down if necessary). Place your hands on your hips as you stretch the front of the hip.
Calf stretch on step with straight leg calf plus bent knee calf
How: Standing on a step, drop the heel of one foot down towards the ground keeping the leg straight. Hold and then perform stretch again this time with a bent knee.
Standing hip stretch
How: Balancing on one leg (using wall is needed), take the opposite foot to the thigh of the standing leg and squat down on your balancing leg. Keep the top foot flexed as you squat lower to make it more intense.
Standing hamstring stretch
How: Split the legs one in front of the other and put the heel of the front foot onto a step. Rest your hands on the thigh of the bent leg and flex the toes of the front one towards your face.