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Coaches Blog

How To Do A Proper Warm-up *Before* You Run

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

by David Bauerle

With most people's hectic schedules, it's tempting to just use the first few minutes of your run workout as a quick warm-up. But, without a proper warm-up, you're risking possible injuries and compromising your workout.

Getting your body and mind ready to run will be instrumental in helping prevent injury and make your entire run workout far more enjoyable. You will be able to start your workout with the paces that you intend, with a body that is ready to go!

Pre-run warm-up drills get the blood flowing to your' running muscles' to loosen your muscles, tendons, and joints. Warm-ups should only take only about 5 to 7 minutes (or longer if you need it).

Here are some basic drills to incorporate into your warm-up routine.

Pre-Run Warm-Up Drills:

Calf raises

Stand on both feet, lift your heels off the ground as high as you can.

Keep your weight mostly on your big toe. This helps activate your calf muscles to get them ready for the stress they are about to go through. Repeat this 10 times slowly.


Alternate lifting your foot up and in as if kicking a hacky-sack.

The lifted knee points out, opening up the hip joint. Bring the arch of your lifted foot up toward the mid-line of the body then return to standing tall. Do 10 on each leg alternating left and right.

Butt Kick:

Stand Tall and walk forward as you raise your heel to your glute (butt). Do 10 reps on each leg.

Front Leg swings

Stand tall and keep your torso vertical. Stand on one leg with that knee slightly bent. Swing the opposite leg to the front and then to the back, keeping your swinging leg straight (knee locked). Repeat 10 front to back swings on each leg.

Side Leg Swings

Stand tall and keep your torso vertical. Stand on one leg with that knee slightly bent. Swing the opposite leg side to side, back and forth in front of your body. Keep your swinging leg straight (knee locked). Repeat 10 side to side swings on each leg.

Straight Leg Walk (toy soldier)

Keep your back and knees straight. Walk forward, lifting your legs straight out in front and flexing your toes.

Grapevine (football drill)

Move sideways, cross your feet in front, then behind each other.

Your arms should move in a swinging motion as you cross the feet and move to the side. Go about 15 meters in each direction as quickly as you can.

Pickups (Starting your run)

As you begin your run workout, do 3 or 4 pickups as part of an active warm-up. A pickup is where you gradually increase your speed for about 10 to 15 seconds then recover fully.

Incorporate these warm-up drills as part of your running routine to improve your run and reduce the risk of injury. These drills should also be part of your race day warm-up routine, along with a 10 to 15-minute easy run.


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