How To Warm Up Before A Run
It’s not secret that warming up before a workout is important (check out how and why to warm up here) but what about before you run? Most people do a few leg swings, walk for a block and jump right in. but how to warm up before a run is just as important as warming up before lifting!
I’ve always been honest in the fact that I despise warming up (especially with running warm up exercises!). Not because I don’t think it’s crucial (I do) but because I’m always short on time and I’d much rather spend that time going all out than doing all these things.
However, the benefits of a proper running warm up are pretty essential:
- Improve mobility
- Get your mind in the game
- Warm up your muscles so maximal exertion is possible
- Lubricate the joints
- Overall prevent injury
The truth is, learning how to warm up before a run benefits your mind just as much as your body.
In the past, I’ve definitely run out the door. Literally. And while I slow my pace for that first 0.5km my body is most definitely not ready. Those runs tend to leave me a bit more achy and my performance a bit less awesome.
As a personal trainer, it’s rare that I meet someone who doesn’t need some mobility work. Our lifestyles just are not made to maintain the range of motion our bodies were designed for. Asking your body to perform in a limited range state is a recipe for disaster.
So, work some mobility drills into your running warm up! These drills not only take the muscles you’ll be using through a full range of motion, but it’ll also start getting your blood flowing in preparation too.
Some of my favorite running warm up drills are;
- Fire Hydrants
- Tspine Rotations
- Dynamic Hamstring Stretches
- Ankle Band Flexions/Extensions
- Cat Cow
- Hip Openers
- Toe Touches
Mobility exercises are great to get some range into the areas you’ll be using (your hips, ankles and spine) but you also want to work the strength aspect also. It reminds those muscles that they need to WORK and gets them firing in preparation for a run.
A few awesome running warm up exercises are:
- Calm Raises
Whenever I’m about to head into a big lift, I always mimic the lift at a lighter weight. This is crucial so your body knows exactly what to expect.
When thinking of how to warm up before a run, mimic it the best you can. Walk for a few minutes and work out the kinks before you head into a full-on run. Make the first minute or five of your run at a slower pace and get used to the movement.
A warm up for running doesn’t need to take thirty minutes. In fact, most of my warm ups are super speedy (here’s a leg warm up that’s under five minutes!). But they do need to be effective.
Below is a basic running warm up to rock. It’s simple, can be done anywhere and my go-to option. As I mentioned, I don’t enjoy warming up, but I do appreciate it’s value.
Part of warming up is about getting your head in the game. You wouldn’t start sprinting out of nowhere while thinking about taxes- you’ll tear something. Give your body a few minutes to adjust and truly think about the movements you’re doing. This is the best way to truly maximize running warm up exercises before hitting the pavement (or if you’re lucky, a trail!).
Much of the time, injuries come from tightness and lack of movement (or overuse). A proper running warm up can help diminish these possibilities.
Spend the time to warm up your muscles and joints and keep your mind focused. You’ll perform better, you’ll feel better and most importantly: you’ll be able to do the activities you enjoy for longer.
Don’t forget to pin these tips on how to warm up before a run!
If you want to stay injury free, learn how to warm u properly before a run. Keep it simple, work on range, mobility and activating all the little muscles you forget about and then mimic what you’ll be doing. Warming up may not be exciting but it’ll help you to keep doing what you love long-term.