Why and how to perform a proper running warmup

A proper running warmup can reduce our risk of injury and improve our running efficiency.

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It can often be tempting to skip a proper warmup, while this saves time, it also increases your risk of injury. A running warmup is especially important if running intervals or a race. We will discuss the further benefits of performing a proper running warmup before you run below.

Why to warmup before running

Warming up for a run allows our body to prepare for what is to come. This is especially important if undergoing a tough workout/session or if we’re running a race.

Running without a warmup results in cold muscles, this increases our chance of pulling a muscle. Therefore, we advocate undergoing a warmup before your run to increase the blood flow to our working muscles, reducing our risk of pulling a muscle or further injury. Moreover, performing a warmup before your run will increase our running efficiency – essential for running fast and breaking those personal bests.

How to warmup before running

When warming up for a run, we are kick-starting the cardiovascular system into gear. Much like a car, we must first go through the gears to reach our top speed. This can be achieved by performing a 10-15 minute (maximum) jog alongside some dynamic stretching. Avoid static stretching until after you’ve completed your run, this will prevent damage to your muscle tissue.

10-15 minute jog

A slow 10-15 minute jog as part of your warmup will prepare your body for what is to follow. By increasing our heart rate, we also increase the blood flow to our working muscles. This allows us to run more efficiently and much faster while reducing our risk of injury (this is because our muscles are already warm).

Dynamic stretching

Dynamic stretching consists of performing a constant movement, whereas static stretching is focused on holding a movement for a given period. Dynamic stretches include:

  • High knees
  • Butt kicks
  • Leg swings
  • Walking lunges

To summarise the importance of a running warmup

Performing a proper running warmup prepares our body for the intense activity to follow. This increases our running efficiency while reducing our risk of injury. Here’s a checklist of what to do:

  • 10-15 minute easy jog
  • Dynamic stretching (think high knees, walking lunges, and leg swings)
  • Avoid static stretches until after your run

To conclude

Whether hitting your next track workout, x-country meet, or road race, be sure to perform a warmup before running. This will prepare your body for what is to come, increase your running efficiency, and potentially save you months from being side-lined.

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