Updated: Apr 21, 2022
The run warm-up. A topic for debate, certainly. Do I warm-up? Do I just go run without a warm-up? And then the time-crunched athlete says, “How much time does it add to my run?” when in fact, the question should be, “what training time will a warm-up save me in injury recovery?”
I know a lot of athletes, including my late father, who didn’t do a warm-up. He pulled on his shoes and out the door he went. I’ve never been able to do that. When I started doing triathlons, I established a warm-up routine that I still do today. In fact, my AquaFit group does much of the same warm-up before we start class.
While I’m not saying it will certainly prevent injury, it will wake up your body in preparation to run. As we age, our muscle elasticity diminishes, as does range of motion. Doing a simple warm-up can help counteract those two issues. I perform each exercise for 30 seconds to a minute.
Here’s my warm-up:
Heel to toe rocking: Rock back onto your heels, then forward onto your toes, as high up as you can go.
Glute and hamstring: Pull one knee into your chest as tightly as you can while rising onto the toe of the standing leg.
Front kicks with hand slap: Kick to the front and attempt to slap your outstretched foot with the opposing hand (right leg kicks, left hand slaps). If you can’t reach your toe to slap, you can slap your leg or ankle.
Butt kicks: Attempt to bring your heel to your glute.
Then, a 5-minute walk, increasing my speed so that I am walking a very fast pace at the 5-minute mark.
Maria Netherland is a Northwest Florida-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Youth & Juniors Certified Coach as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Coach Maria loves working for athletes of all abilities, military athletes, and new triathletes as they pursue their goals. Maria is a veteran of the US Army and a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.