Much like personal massage, stretching is crucial to preventing injury and helping you get the most out of your run. Here are a few stretches for your legs and feet that can enhance your workout:
Sit down on the ground with both feet extended straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the left side of your left knee. Your right heel should be as close to your left glute as possible. Put your left hand on the your right knee and gently twist your body to the right enough so that you feel a stretch in your glutes. Repeat on the other side.
Using a wall or a chair for balance, raise one heel toward your bottom, holding the foot with your hand. Keep your knees in line as you stretch your quads. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then repeat on the other leg.
Having tight hamstrings can really limit your range of motion, which isn't something you want during a run. Avoid pulled muscles by lying on your back and slowly raising one leg up toward the ceiling (leaving the other leg extended on the floor). Keep your back straight and your lower back on the floor during the entire stretch. Grab the back of your raised leg with both hands, and gradually pull toward you, holding for 10-30 seconds. Then repeat on the other leg.
Sit on the ground with your legs together stretched straight out in front of you. Wrap a towel or elastic band around the sole of your right foot and hold the ends of the towel or band in each hand. Flex your right foot and gently pull it toward you with the towel, then release. Do 10 reps, then switch sides to give your calves a nice stretch.
Stand on a stair or ledge and let your heels lower down off the ledge, offering a generous stretch for the bottom of your feet. Hold the position for 10 seconds and return to your starting position. Repeat the stretch five times.