serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Stretching for Running Any Time You Want It

posted by Chris Barber

I love to stretch.  I can stretch a dollar, stretch out a guitar solo, and stretch my running muscles all at the same time.  That’s called multi-tasking.


Stretching can be the most important complimentary component to running.  Running creates stress on certain muscle groups that tighten when you stop.  Therefore it is good to stretch right after you are done.  This helps relieve some of the stress you just put on your muscles and reduces your risk of them tightening up.  You only need to do each stretch 4 times and hold for about 10-12 seconds, but no more than 30 seconds.  See, it only takes 2 minutes to do a stretch.  There are plenty of 2 minute periods in your day you can add stretching to like when you are riding the elevator, sitting in your office chair looking at Facebook, or waiting in line at McDonald’s.  All perfect times for your basic stretches!  Here are 4 essential stretches that you can do at any time of the day.  Make time in your life for stretching.  Flexibility’s important.

standing-calf-stretchCalf Stretch: For this stretch you are going to need a wall or something sturdy to lean against.  Stand facing the wall with your feet flat on the ground.  Lean against the wall and lift your left heel off the ground by bending your left knee.  Lean forward by bending you elbows until you feel you right calf become taunt.  This stretch is also perfect for when someone begins talking that you really don’t want to listen to.  Lean against the wall and do this stretch with your back to them as they are talking.  What?  You’re just stretching, you’re still listening.  Passive aggressive?  More like Promotion successful!

Thigh Stretch: Stand on your right foot and pick your left foot off of the ground.  Bend your left thigh-stretchleg, bringing your heel to your buttocks.  Grab your foot with your right arm for balance.  Pull your leg back until you can feel the front of your thigh become taunt.  Do not attempt to do this exercise while riding a moving subway; or around flamingos of the opposite sex.  You’re such a hot bird baby, yeah!

standing-hamstring-stretchStanding Hamstring Stretch: Place your legs together with both feet flat on the ground.  Bend over with your arms extended in front of you and move them toward the floor.  Reach down as far as you can until your hamstring becomes taunt.  This stretch is great for standing in line when someone is behind you.

Groin Stretch: Sit “American Indian Style” (if you say “American” Indian it’s politically correct) in your chair by sitting-groin-stretch-runningputting the soles of your penny loafers together.  Put your hands on your feet and elbows against your knees and thighs.  Push your knees toward the seat of the chair until you feel the groin area become taunt.  Oh yeah, you’re so taunty baby.

These 4 basic, convenient stretches will help you avoid injury, be less sore after your runs, and allow you to become more flexible.  It’s good to be flexible.  You never know when you’ll need more flexibility…



  1. Amy Reinink says:

    I am constantly embarrassing friends and family members by breaking into strange stretches (like for my hip flexor) in strange places (like at the hostess booth at restaurants). I also tend to work in calf raises when standing around pool tables and yoga poses while waiting for my water to boil for tea. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?

  2. Chris Barber says:

    Stretching at hostess booths, nice one. You’re right, a runners gotta do what a runners gotta do.

  3. Amanda says:

    Way to represent, Iowa!

  4. Chris Barber says:

    No problem Amanda. I actually had a buddy run in Iowa for the first time this past weekend and he said it was pretty legit, but then when I asked him if you could put together a loop instead of an out and back route he said only if you wanted to do a 20 mile run. He also said when he went running it was the first time he saw any male wearing a pair of shorts for the 5 days he was there…and it was 90 degrees out. Not sure what that’s all about…

    Rock on Ankeny and Oskaloosa, Iowa!