NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for all things training!
Q: What is the best stretch to do before or after a run?
Before a run, it’s all about being dynamic. Your muscles are stiff, so moving them while stretching will help effectively prepare you for a run. Focus on the large muscles: quads, glutes and hamstrings. Walking lunges help stretch out the hip flexors while engaging the quads. Bending over and reaching for your toes, coming up and reaching to the sky and repeating in a fluid motion helps activate the hamstrings with a mild stretch.
After a run, the best sort of “stretch” is actually a massage. Foam rolling (either with a large roller or a handheld stick) works wonders to loosen fascia and encourage recovery. Again, focus on the big muscle groups and get deep into the tissues to relieve some of the post-run tension.
Have a question for Coach Kigar? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #AsktheCoach.