6 Key Stretches for Runners

We know, we know: Stretching is confusing. One minute, experts tell you to stretch before you run, and the next minute research reveals that static stretching (think: touching your toes) may actually zap performance. What's a runner to do?

Well, first, know this. You need to stretch. Running makes your legs strong, toned, and, unfortunately, tight. Every step you take forces those quads, hamstrings, calves, and hips to flex and extend over and over to propel you down the road. After many miles, those hardworking muscles and tendons can develop imbalances, scar tissue, and tension, slowing you down and paving the way for common over-use injuries like IT Band syndrome, and Achilles tendonitis.

To prevent injury and hasten recovery, perform dynamic stretches before you pound the pavement, and do static stretches after your run, when your muscles are pliable.

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