“I usually do a quick quad stretch and some arm swings, then I’m ready to smash my long run.” – Most of us.
While you might get away with this a lot of the time, it really isn’t the best way to prepare your body for a run, no matter how long or fast it is.
Mobilisation is key, you would (and if you don’t, you should) do this before a workout if you were in the gym. Running is no different.
During a warmup your muscles, bones, and joints start to loosen. When the muscles are warm, there’s less stress on the tendons and ligaments meaning less change of injury. As your heart rate increases through dynamic movement, the increased blood flow to your muscles provides them with oxygen, meaning they will take longer to fatigue. During your run, you’ll find more muscles will be engaged, your recovery will be easier, and mentally you’ll be switched on. It’s also important not to give your nervous system too much of a shock if you start running, it might think it’s running for it’s life!
So let’s get to how to do it:
- You’ll want to target the muscles you will need for a run and increase range of motion.
- Finish your warm-up as close to the start of the session as possible. The full effects do not last long after your warm-up, so no time to sit down and rest!
- The shorter and more intense the race is, the longer and more intense your warm-up routine needs to be.
- Increase the intensity of your warm-up routine slowly and never start with jumping or sprinting exercises.
- The overall intensity of your warm-up should not exceed the anaerobic threshold; you don’t want to be exhausted after 5 mins. You shouldn’t be short of breath!
We have compiled a video with a warm up you can do. Remember, if you are heading out for a short and fast run, make sure you add a few explosive movements in there, perhaps 10 squat jumps or lunges.
This warmup won’t make you sweat or scream with the discomfort of lactic acid build up – they’ll only benefit you in the long run (pun intended). The more you do these exercises, the quicker the muscles are activated, and the more transferable activation come to other tasks, this making you more mechanically efficient and less at risk of injury.
Therefore, give yourself a head start before your next run or race with a well-planned dynamic warmup. You really will thank yourself for it!