Stretching. Every runner knows they need to do it, but it is often the first thing cut from a routine when you’re strapped for time. Here’s a quick and simple pre-workout stretch routine that can help prepare the muscles for activity and reduce the risk for injury, all in under two minutes. It’s called dynamic stretching. Dynamic means it is an active stretch that moves through a range of motion, and it is best done before the run itself. This is different from a static stretch, which is typically held in one position for a longer period of time (20-30 secs), and is beneficial after the activity.
Dynamic stretching moves the muscles through their full range of motion, and gets them ready to contract and relax, as they would need to function during a run, sprint, jump, or other lower body activity that requires speed, power, or intensity. Dynamic stretching is best before a workout, because the active movement helps prevent over-stretching, which may fatigue the muscle.
These dynamic stretches target the major muscle groups used in running and are helpful in reducing injury to your hamstring, shins, Achilles, IT band, quads, and glutes. After a couple minutes of light jogging to warm up, walk through these moves, then hit the start button on your watch and it’s off to your run!