Why should I perform a run warm-up? What does it look like?
A run warm-up primes your body to run. It’s a wake-up call that we all need to answer. Looking back, I used to get up, get dressed, wander out of the house onto the street, and start running. That all changed when I decided to do my second Ironman.
I was then 42 years old, and my body had simply stopped accepting simply heading out the door with no run warm-up. I tried a few times, but I felt like I was running on cement blocks.
Running is a whole-body exercise, so you need to wake everything up. Once the body is awake, then you can do a dynamic warm-up. Ultimately, there are two sets of exercises before running.
Here are some exercises I use to wake up my body. I do 5-10 reps of each exercise, except for the bike ride. It’s just 5 minutes.
Bike ride or walk: Five minutes at an easy pace
Chest Openers: arms wide open at shoulder height, palms facing up
Side bends: arms overhead, fingers interlaced, lean side to side (gently)
Walking knee pull into chest: squeeze the leg into your chest. If you have knee issues, you can grab behind the thigh
Walking Lunges w/twist: make sure you’re twisting toward the front leg
Ankle rolls: do these standing or seated, one leg at a time
Now onto the dynamic exercises - these are telling the body that we’re about to run. I also do ten reps of each exercise.
Heel-to-toe walking: go slowly and be deliberate
Front leg kick w/opposite hand slap: bend your leg, if needed, but give that foot a good slap
Butt kicks: try to kick your booty with your heel
High knee skips with arms: skip high, really using your arms for a few reps, then skip long.
Adjust the repetitions to meet your needs.
Your body is ready to run!
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 email@example.com.