Pre-Run Dynamic Mobility Part 2: Overground Movements

By Kristina Pattison, DPT, OCS, CSCS from Alpine Physical Therapy

Run Wild Missoula gears up for the Run For the Luck of It 7-mile and 5km events this month on March 12. As spring approaches and daylight hours increase, outside running becomes more enjoyable. While building mileage outdoors, try these three simple variations to your Pre-Run Dynamic Mobility routine for improved performance and reduced risk for injury.  

Dynamic stretching prior to running improves performance by increasing time to exhaustion at high intensities (3-5k pace)1, as well as increasing running economy and reducing perceived effort at submaximal aerobic intensities (70% of VO2max)2. These improvements are attributed to increased joint range of motion, increased circulation and temperature of muscles, improved nerve conduction, and increased elasticity of tendons2. Repeat each motion overground for 15-20 reps or for a minute per exercise prior to your run. See the last post: Pre-Run Dynamic Mobility for movements that can easily be performed indoors or outdoors with less space.  

Walking Leg Swings

For improved hip and knee mobility for leg swing: draw the heel to butt with knees together, then swing leg through bringing knee toward chest. Throughout the movement keep standing leg long, with glute engaged and knee straight. Ensure your pelvis stays level and knees stay close together. This helps with full hip and knee range of motion and muscle activation for swing and stance legs during gait.  

Walking lunge with torso twist  

For improved hip, knee and torso mobility for leg and arm swing: perform a walking lunge, keeping pelvis square and level. While at the bottom, you may turn the torso toward the front leg to encourage trunk mobility and core activation for arm swing. This helps with hip flexion and extension as well as trunk rotation for a full range of motion and muscle activation for flight phase of gait.  

Alternating side lunges  

For improved hip, knee and torso mobility for leg and arm swing: perform a lateral lunge, keeping knee over the middle of the bent leg and trailing leg straight. While at the bottom, ensure your pelvis is orienting toward the bent leg and knee cap over the foot to ensure full hip range of motion. This helps with hip flexion, abduction, adduction, and rotation for leg swing and muscle activation for stabilization with weight acceptance.  

About the Author:

Kristina Pattison is a Missoula, Montana based ultra-distance trailrunner. Locally, she works as a physical therapist for Alpine Physical Therapy at the Peak Health and Wellness Center Downtown. She is board certified in orthopedics and certified as a specialist in strength and conditioning. Formerly, Kristina worked as a wildland firefighter and Missoula Smokejumper. She is passionate about helping athletes dream big and achieve their goals. Contact Kristina today about coaching through Flight Phase Coaching.  


1. Yamaguchi, Taichi1; Takizawa, Kazuki2; Shibata, Keisuke3 Acute Effect of Dynamic Stretching on Endurance Running Performance in Well-Trained Male Runners, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: November 2015 – Volume 29 – Issue 11 – p 3045-3052 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000969  

2. Faelli E, Panascì M, Ferrando V, et al. The Effect of Static and Dynamic Stretching during Warm-Up on Running Economy and Perception of Effort in Recreational Endurance Runners. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(16):8386. Published 2021 Aug 8. doi:10.3390/ijerph18168386