Whether you are new to running, or a 5K veteran, keeping your body in tip-top shape is important for performing at your best.

A pre-run warm-up is crucial for allowing your muscles and joints to be at their fullest range of motion. Your muscles respond better to the stress your workouts put on them if they have been warmed up beforehand.

Stretching before and after your runs should be a habit by now, but if it’s not we’ve got a few tips for you to get started!

1. Leg Swings

Step 1: Find a sturdy bar or fence post to hold onto for balance. Lift your right leg and swing it in front of you side to side, keeping your hips square. Do 10 reps on each leg.

Step 2: Turn to your right side, holding onto the bar/fence post with your right arm. Lift your right leg and swing it forward and back as high as you can while keeping your torso sturdy. Do 10 reps on each leg.

Related: 5 Ways to Workout Without Realizing it

2. Around The Clock Lunges

Step 1: Begin standing tall, hands-on-hips, and feet shoulder-width apart. Imagine a clock and lunge forward with your right leg to the 12 O’clock position for one count. Return to the starting position and continue lunging in a clockwise rotation until you return to 12.

Step 2: Repeat lunges in clockwise rotations on your other leg.

3. Heel Walks

Start in a standing position and simply tilt your feet back until you are walking on your heels. Continue heel walks for your desired amount of reps.

Conclusion

Follow these pre-run tips from pro athlete Rachel DeMita to improve your flexibility and crush your next run. Any and all of these stretches can be done before or after your running workout. Leg swings are great for improving flexibility in your hips and warming up your pelvis. Lunges are a great overall warm-up for your body, especially your quads and hamstrings. Heel walks help stretch out your calf muscles, making them ideal for those who suffer from shin splints.

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