Even if you fancy dipping into the ice bath after a workout, you still need to stretch your legs before and after running / cardio workouts.
These four stretches provide enough stimulation for the average person. Hold each stretch for about 20 seconds, and do not bounce about while stretching.
The Hamstring Stretch
To do a hamstring stretch place the heel of your foot on a bench or chair, and then slowly move your bum away from the chair to stretch the hamstring. The old school hurdle stretch is no longer recommended due to the lower back problems that it can cause.
Simply stand upright, support yourself with one hand against a wall, and bend one knee to lift you heel up behind you. Then with the other hand grab your foot (same side). And pull gently towards your buttocks.
Stand facing a wall and place your palms on the wall in front. Place the toes of one foot against the wall, and then take a long step backwards. Then bend your front leg so that the knee moves towards the wall while stretching the rear leg. Switch legs and repeat.
This stretch is done lying down. The purpose is to prepare the spine for the impact of running. Lie on your back and pull your left knee to your chect, and then pull it over towards the floor with your right hand. If you can keep your left arm on the floor you will benefit more as it will keep your shoulders down. Repeat on opposite side.
Warming up and cooling down after exercise helps to aid muscle recovery and soreness, meaning that you should be able to train daily once you are in good condition and stretching well. And remember that it is not just your legs that take a pounding when running, but also your spine.