How to Properly Stretch Before a Run to Avoid Pain

Once ready for a run, you may feel inclined to jet out the door at top speed, or skip the warmup in the interest of saving time. However, those few moments spent on a pre-run stretch will save your joints in the long run and prevent injury. Exercising before a warmup and result in a torn muscle or a sprain. Luckily, there are several ways to get in shape safely.

Here are a few tips to warm up wisely:

Start With a Walk

Walk slowly for three to five minutes to help ease your muscles and tendons into the range of motion that running mimics. Walking will also warm up your body and increase blood flow to all your muscles. Walking also helps aid runners who are recovering from an injury.

Add Strides

Do five to six 100-meter strides. Strides (also known as “pick-ups”) flood the muscles with blood and help your body transition from walking to running. Jog for two minutes, gradually accelerate over the course of 60-100 meters, than gradually decelerate. After each stride, walk around and stretch your legs for 90 seconds, then stride back in the opposite direction.

Keep your steps short and quick and keep your feet and legs underneath your torso during each push.

Dynamic Stretches

Dynamic stretching is when you utilize controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, and helps blood flow so that you can run efficiently and free of injury. Jumping jacks, forward jacks and squats are all exercises that can be done before your run.


SimpleTherapy offers online personalized exercise therapy at no cost to all CHOC associates. As a member of CHOCFit, you can log in anytime to relieve pain and prevent injury through our adaptive pain programs. Download our SimpleTherapy app and start your session today!

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