Warming up before you run not only can help prevent injury and improve performance but can also prepare you mentally to perform to the best of your ability. Performing some dynamic stretches and activation exercises can prime the pathways between your nerves and muscles to be fully ready for a good run, increase enough blood flow into the muscle groups, which is vital for delivering oxygen and essential nutrients and prevent unnecessary stress and strain on your muscles and your heart.
How long should a running warm-up be?
Your warm up shouldn’t take a long time. 5-10 minutes is all your need to get ready to run out the door.
What are the benefits of warming up properly before a run?
- Rises your body temperature
- As your muscle temperature rises, your muscle viscosity (or resistance) decreases. This results in faster muscle contraction and relaxation, which enhances your performance.
- Your heart also benefits from warming up. The exercises increase your cardiac output and respiratory minute volume (RMV), thus expanding your VO2 max.
- Improves the load distribution in your joints
- Minimises the risk of injury. It increases tissue and muscle flexibility and prepares your body to perform fast and explosive movements. Plus, you are less likely to pull or tear a muscle.
- Improves your mental focus and speeds up your reaction time.
Is there anyone who should never skip a warm up before a run?
As mentioned above, warming up before a run shouldn’t be negotiable especially if you are just starting out or haven’t been running/exercising for a while or you just recovered from an injury.
What’s the best warm up for runners?
One that merges both mobility and activation exercises. See below for a good example you can use as of today.
- CORE ACTIVATION: DEADBUGS – 12 Reps (6 each side)
- Lie on your back with your arms extended up towards the ceiling in line with your shoulders. Bend your knees to a 90° angle into the table-top position.
- Straighten your left leg and lower to just hover above the floor. At the same time straighten and lower your right arm above your head. Repeta on the other side
2. GLUTES ACTIVATION: SINGLE LEGGED BRIDGE – 12 Reps each side
- Lie your back on the mat with your feet flat on the floor. Float your left leg in table-top position, knee on top of your hip, ankle in line with your knee. Maintaining the left knee at a 90 degree angle, press your hips to the ceiling, engage your glutes and and keep your ribcage down. Hold for few seconds really focussing on activating the muscle in your right butt cheek.
- Lower your sit bones towards the floor and release the tension in your right glutes. Repeat.
3. BACK MOBILITY: CAT & COW – 10 Reps
- Get into all 4s keeping your palms under your shoulders and the hips in line with the knees.Press the palms against the floor, exhale and draw the belly button into the spine, round the back one vertebrae at the time, tucking the chin into the chest, and seat bones under.
- Inhale and gently start arching your back in the opposite direction: open your chest, broaden through the collarbones, and send the seat bones to the ceiling without disengaging the belly. Repeat.
4. SHOULDER, T-SPINE, HIPS MOBILITY: WORLD’S GREATEST STRETCH – 10 Reps (5 each side)
- Get on the mat in a high plank position: press your palms directly under your shoulders, elbows softly bent, pelvis in line with the shoulders. Extend your legs towards the back tucking your toes under. Now step your right foot on the outside of the right palm to open your hip. Keep pressing your left palm on the floor and reach the right fingertips towards the ceiling fully stretching your right arm.
- Thread your right arm under the left armpit twisting your torso. Reach your right arm towards the ceiling again then press the same palm on the floor. Step your right leg back into plank and repeat on the other side.
5. HIPS MOBILITY: SHIN BOX – 10 Reps (5 each side)
- Sit on the floor with your legs at 90 degrees (one leg internally rotated, one leg externally rotated).
- While keeping your torso upright and feet planted, slowly rotate your hips until you reach the same 90/90 position on the opposite side.
- Continue rotating in the same way, pausing briefly at each side while contracting the glutes