Distant running requires stamina, strength and strong muscles. The main muscles worked in the leg when running are the hamstrings and calves. However, the gluetal muscles also play a role in running. When the gluteal and hamstring muscles are weak, there is a  risk of serious injury. To minimize this risk,  one must prevent muscle weakness and improve hamstring and gluteal muscles’ flexibility and strength.


The hamstrings are three muscles located behind the knee and upper thigh. Your gluteal muscles or “buttocks” are located between the top of the hamstrings and your lower back. Weak hamstring and gluteal muscles are caused by low activity or inactivity. Long periods of sitting or standing without movement can cause both the hamstrings and gluteals to tighten, which is a sign of muscle weakness in these areas. If you have been away from distance running for awhile, you’ll have to get your hamstring and glutes back up to speed with stretches and exercises to strengthen and lengthen those muscles.


Weak hamstrings and glutes affect the gait cycle and the ability to stride while running. One might suffer lower back pain, tightness in the hips and knee pain. Weak hamstrings can also lead to the misalignment of the pelvis, which leads to a stooped spine. Having weak hamstrings can cause the quadriceps located on the upper thigh in front of the leg to overcompensate and become bulky in appearance. Gluteus medius is an abductor of the thigh, and a weak gluteus medius can lead to injuries to the muscles in the thigh. Along with the hamstrings, the gluteal muscles work to stabilize the pelvis. A weak gluteus medius, will cause pelvis tilt more than usual when walking or running, causing you to waddle, or in extreme cases, to limp.


Increase hamstring’s flexibility by stretching before a run. Stand with the leg you’re stretching directly in front of the opposite leg. Lean forward with hands on your hips while bending your back knee. If needed, place  hands on  front the thigh for balance. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Improve your gluteal muscles’ flexibility by lying flat on your back and bring one knee up toward your chest. Hold knee to the chest for 15 seconds, then slowly lower the knee. Repeat this four times before switching legs.


Before running, warm up the muscles by stretching. If the hamstrings and glutes are weak, this increases the risk of injuries such as strains and tears. Do not stretch to the point of pain. Pain is an indicator that there may be a  tear of the muscle fibers. Stretch to a point that is physically comfortable. When stretching hold your position for 5 to 10 seconds before coming out of the stretch.

Provided by Primus Sports Medicine Staff