Stretching is important because it increases the range of motion for running (or any exercise for that matter.) It also increases flexibility. This is important because it increases mobility in joints and muscles. In turn, the runner is less at risk for injury when putting those muscles to work.
Joints and muscles work best when they are warmed up and stretching is a perfect warm up! The body is generally pretty stiff and slow before the start of a run. Stretching can loosen the joints, tendons and muscles and get the blood pumping pretty quickly, helping runners to comfortably and safely get started.
Here, we offer you printable sheets on warming up and stretching. Feel free to download these. One sheet depicts how to stretch for any exercise—or even just a good way to start a day without exercise. The second is specific to running showing stretches for quads, hip and calves to help prevent injury shins, Achilles tendon and other joints and muscles used when we run.