For a discussion of stretching, read my stretching page. Remember the cardinal rule of stretching: You should feel no pain, that is, don't stretch so hard that you injure yourself! It's OK to feel stiffness while you stretch, but not pain as in "injury". When you stretch, hold each position for 10 - 15 seconds and then relax. Repeat as many times as you'd like. I only do them one or two times. Be gentle with your muscles because your muscles are cold before you run and tired after you run. Click a picture for a larger view.
Note: There is one stretch that is not illustrated in this page. The stretch is called the "furniture lift", and it strengthens your legs. While wearing your running shoes, place your toe under the edge of a sofa or heavy chair and lift up with your toe as if you were attempting to move the furniture. The purpose is not to actually move the furniture but to put stress on your shins. Hold the stress for 10-15 seconds and then relax. Repeat using the other toe, and repeat the sequence several times. I only do each foot one time.
Notes on the stretches:
Row 1: Calves.Three variations of the wall pusher. Last two are for the Soleus muscle.
Row 2: Quads & hams. Traditional stretches.
Row 3: Buttocks. Pull knee towards opposite side of the body. Can also be done from a chair.
Row 3: Quads. Hold leg in air, against gravity. Can also be done from a chair.
Row 4: Hips & knees. Keep legs straight & rotate from the hip. Last two, push/pull toe against toe. Can also be done from a chair, as long as your legs are straight and not bent. Remember to rotate whole legs.
Row 5: ITB. Put leg to be stretched behind other leg and lean back.
Row 6: Stomach. Sit ups. Keep shoulders off ground, hands in front to put stress on lower back. You can also do this from a chair and bending over such that your head is down between your legs. Using a chair, though is not quite as effective as lying on a floor.
Row 6: Correction to picture. When back is on ground, knees should be bent.
Row 7: Lower back. Last two, pull knee to nose if possible, but don't pull so hard you experience pain. You can also sit on the edge of a chair and bend over such that your head is near your waist.