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Running, like any form of exercise, can sometimes cause your muscles to tighten up. This post, the first of several about stretching and flexibility, will help you learn to keep tightness and soreness at bay. So find a quiet, comfortable spot and join Chicago Run coaches Casey and Izzy in our simple static stretching routine!

Just as there are many ways to run, there are many ways to stretch. Static stretching, or traditional stretching, is the most common form of stretching. Athletes in almost every sport utilize static stretching as part of their daily routine. Stretching, in any form, helps to increase mobility and to prevent injury. For runners, static stretching is not only beneficial, but also is a relaxing way to finish up a workout.

Remember that static stretching is most effective when done at the end of your workout, after your muscles are already warm. Here are five basic static stretches to get you started!

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Hamstring Stretch

Stand tall, then slowly bend over, reaching both of your arms down towards your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent and breathe deeply. Hold for up to thirty seconds.

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Quadriceps Stretch

From a standing position, bend one leg behind you and grab your foot. Slowly pull backwards until you feel a stretch in the muscle between your the front of your knee and your waist. Hold the position for up to thirty seconds, then switch legs. If you are having trouble balancing, find a wall and brace yourself with your free arm.

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Back Stretch

Start in a sitting position with both legs extended. Bend one knee towards your body and cross it over your leg. Rotate your torso towards your crossed leg and brace yourself against the leg with the opposite arm. Hold for up to thirty seconds, then switch sides.

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Gluteus Stretch

Start in a sitting position with both knees bent towards your torso. Cross one leg over the other so that it rests atop and perpendicular to the bent leg.

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Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with one leg in front of the other. Point your the toe of your forward leg upward and place it against the wall. You can brace yourself and intensify the stretch by pressing against the wall.

That's it for now, runners! Head here to learn a dynamic, pre-workout warmup!