Stretching?: Currently doing the C25K and doing... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Currently doing the C25K and doing the warm up and cool down walks (though I hate the cooldown as I just want to get in the shower) but should I be doing stretches before and after? Tia

11 Replies

Before running the most important thing is just to loosen out the muscles which you can do by jogging on the spot, swinging arms, butt-kicks etc. For most people full on stretching isn't really necessary.

After a run, it is more important to regulate the muscle contraction and stretching will reduce the likelihood a cramping and muscle tightness.

Di-LGraduate in reply to Dunder2004

Thank you x


Just limber up a bit before 5 min warmup walk for c25k, don't need to do much, don't try and stretch cold muscles before running, when you've finished yes stretch the legs...No need to go mad though..


I didn't. I just did the walks. I think that's why I liked the programme, it didn't tell me I had to stretch. (And yes I got to wk 9 injury free 😀)


if you have an area that still feels tight—the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, IT bands, and quads tend to be tight after running as mine are—a little stretching may be in order. But it is not necessary.


There is quite a divide among the running community as to whether stretching before a run is good.

I do a 5 min warm up walk (I notice that a lot of park runners don't do any warm up), and a cool down walk plus some cool down stretches - I really think the cool down stretches have let me avoid a lot of pain (which I used to get before I started doing the cool down stretches)

Stretching is a topic that is often talked about on here and there is divided advice about it. I personally think it changes to the environment and what you need on a day to day basis. I use the warm up walk to get me going but if it's really cold I add in some stretches and arm swings to get my body a bit warmer before I start because I did notice my body didn't feel ready to run when it was really cold from just the warm up walk. For me personally my physio advised my big stretching session to be done at night before bed but if I finish the run with a little niggle I stretch it out straight afterwards. I have a set of three I do for hamstring, calf and quads if I have anything that doesn't feel right. I have oestoathritis and have been given specific advice for me. I would suggest over time try a few stretches at different times and find what works for you. The best stretches will be the ones you will continue to do rather than ones you manage to keep up with for a couple of weeks.

BluerockdragonGraduate in reply to Realfoodieclub

Environment and the person/body you are. I don't do much or even anything before or after a run apart from the warm-up walks. But, during the rest of the day I do stretch. I do bottom kicks while waiting on the kettle to boil, squats at my desk (I've got a standing desk) and a variety of other stretches I've picked up over the years. I don't know if it does any good but I've never had more than minor, short lasting, lower body niggles through C25k and to date. Stretching this way has become a bit of a habit.

I have always done a couple of hamstring, calf and thigh stretches straight after every run while still warm..after the cool down walk though. I used to feel quite tight in the ankles until I discovered toe lifts and heel drops and have added these to my post run stretch routine. (Only takes a couple if mins). If my shoulders feel tight I stretch them out too...😊

Also always have a drink of water afterwards, your muscles need it.


That's the link to the recommended stretches on here.

I've always stretched after my runs and hound it helpful. Normally just rely on the warm up walk beforehand, but if I feel cold or stiff I jump about a bit, do butt kicks and arm swings.


It really does seem to be different for everybody. I would advocate, at the very minimum, stretching after your runs. I find I have to stretch my calves before the warm up walk, between the walk up walk and the run and then again after the cool down walk. Others may advise not to do this but I wear heels all the time (other than when I'm running) and I had such calf pain until I worked out I needed to stretch before running. I do it gently and after a lot of gentle movement so I'm not stretching cold. Thighs, hamstring, etc I can just stretch after my run. Find what works best for you - you might have problem areas that need different kind of stretches to others.

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