The warm up before a run.
Do you skip it?
I admit, I’m guilty.
Even though I know how good a quality warm up makes a run feel, I still skip it every so often. My run time is precious!
We all know we should do it. But how many times does it actually happen? And what does ‘warm up’ actually mean?
So why should you do a warm up?
First off, you need to get your body ready for exercise. After sleeping all night long or sitting all day long at work, you put your body into shock when you immediately step out the door and begin to run. Your body needs to warm up by slowly increasing your heart rate and breathing rate. In doing so, you are lubricating your joints which will give you better range of motion and better elasticity in tendons and ligaments. Tons of research supports that a dynamic warm up benefits the body AND can make you a faster runner.
A warm up can be done in less than 10 minutes. Here’s how to get out the door and ready to run in no time at all.
Step one: Foam Roll
I always used my foam roller or Trigger Point roller after my runs or before I went to bed. Then my massage therapist told me to use it BEFORE my run. Why? It helps warm the muscles up – duh!
Start with the major muscles – back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves. If you find something that is extra sticky, spend a little bit more time on that spot. I usually do 3-5 swipes of the roller if it’s not sticky.
For me, rolling takes about 5 minutes unless there’s something that needs extra love (usually my calves).
Step two: Glute Activation
My glutes are usually sleepy and need a little wake up with a few mini band exercises.
Step three: Dynamic Warm Up
Matt, my physical therapist, got me hooked on this warm up sequence. It fires up the whole body and leaves me sweating and ready to run.
Toy Solider: Keep your back and knees straight as you lift your leg straight out of front of you. Reach your arm forward and try to let your toes touch your hand. 5-10 reps each side.
Knee to Chest: Walk forward, bring your right knee to you chest while left leg stays straight. Do the same move on the right side. Repeat as you walk forward with 5-10 hugs of each knee to chest. Keep core strong and back straight.
Walking Quad Stretch: Just like doing a static quad stretch except as you are walking forward. Bring your right foot to your butt, grabbing hold of foot or ankle before releasing. Switch legs with each step. Again, core strong, back straight. 5-10 reps each side.
Open the Gate: While standing, lift your left knee to waist level and rotate it out to the side before lowering foot back to the ground. Repeat on right side. 5-10 reps each side.
Inchworm to Spider Plank: From standing, bend at the waist and walk your hands out to plank position. Drop hips to the ground and look up. Come back to plank and bring right foot to outside of right hand, keeping hips square. Repeat on left side. From plank position, walk feet to hands while keeping legs straight. Stand up tall to finish. Repeat sequence 5-10 times.
And now, you are ready to run!
I know it seems like a lot, especially when you are used to doing nothing except walking out the door to run. BUT once you get in the habit of doing this routine (or even part of it!), you will feel a HUGE difference. I know I do!
So now the question is – What’s your favorite way to warm up before a run?
Linking up with Coaches Corner.