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Physiotherapist’s top stretches to prevent running injuries

Physiotherapist’s top stretches to prevent running injuries

Running offers a holistic approach to health and well-being, benefiting both the body and mind. It is a versatile activity that can be adapted to individual preferences, fitness levels, and goals, making it an important component of a healthy lifestyle. It is important to learn proper techniques and warm ups to prevent injuries and support a sustainable sport for long term success. Whether you are training for another marathon or you are wanting to add running to your exercise routine to move and feel better, here are our physiotherapist’s top stretches to prevent running injuries. 

Hamstring Stretch:

  • Stand tall and extend one leg in front of you with your heel on the ground and toes pointed up.
  • Hinge at your hips and lean forward, keeping your back straight.
  • You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your thigh.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.

Quadriceps Stretch:

  • Stand tall and pull one foot towards your glutes, keeping your knees close together.
  • Hold your foot with one hand to maintain balance.
  • You should feel a stretch along the front of your thigh.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.

Calf Stretch:

  • Stand facing a wall with your hands against it at shoulder height.
  • Step one foot back and press your heel into the ground.
  • Keep your back leg straight and lean forward, bending your front knee.
  • You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.

IT Band Stretch:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Cross one leg behind the other and reach towards the opposite side with your arm.
  • Lean your hips towards the side you’re stretching.
  • You should feel a stretch along the side of your hip and thigh.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.

Hip Flexor Stretch:

  • Kneel on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor in front of you.
  • Keep your back straight and gently push your hips forward.
  • You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip and thigh.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides. 

Remember to perform these stretches after a proper warm-up or at the end of your run when your muscles are warm. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, and aim to repeat each stretch 2-3 times on each side. Stretching should never cause pain; if you feel pain, ease off the stretch.

Now that you are warmed up and ready to run, Here are some basics to get you started:

  1. Start Slowly: If you’re new to running, begin with a mix of walking and running (like a run-walk program) to build up your endurance gradually. Listen to your body and increase intensity and duration over time.
  2. Proper Footwear: Invest in a good pair of running shoes that fit well and provide adequate support for your feet and arches. Visit a specialty running store for a proper fitting if possible.
  3. Warm Up and Cool Down: Always warm up with light stretching or a brisk walk before you start running. Likewise, cool down with some gentle stretching to help prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness.
  4. Good Form: Focus on maintaining good running form to prevent injuries. Keep your posture upright, shoulders relaxed, and arms at a 90-degree angle. Land mid-foot and avoid overstriding.
  5. Breathing: Find a breathing rhythm that works for you. Some runners prefer breathing in for two steps and out for two steps, while others find a different pattern more comfortable. Experiment to see what works best for you.
  6. Stay Hydrated: Drink water before, during, and after your run to stay hydrated. Pay attention to your body’s signals, especially when running in hot weather.
  7. Rest and Recovery: Give your body time to rest and recover between runs. This helps prevent overuse injuries and allows your muscles to repair and grow stronger.
  8. Set Realistic Goals: Whether it’s running a certain distance, improving your pace, or participating in a race, set realistic and achievable goals to keep yourself motivated and focused.
  9. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain while running. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t push yourself.

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our chiropractors, physiotherapists or massage therapists, visit our clinic websites at Curavita Byward and Curavita Glebe.


Byward Market

333 Cumberland Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7J3
Phone: 613.860.8600


108A Third Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 2J8
Phone: 613.237.9000