How to Properly Warm Up Before a Run

warm up

Running is fun and is a great way to get in shape or drop those last few pounds left over from Christmas. In fact, around 64% of Americans run as part of their fitness regime. 

When you boil it down running is a simple way to get in shape. All you need is a good pair of shoes and the open road. That’s a low cost, low maintenance way to get in shape. 

But before you lace up and start running, make sure you warm up properly and sufficiently. That last thing you want is to pick up and injury because you did not warm up enough. 

Keep reading to learn how you can warm up properly ahead of your run. 

Importance of Warming Up

Between up to 90% of runners will pick up an injury during or resulting from running. A good warm up and stretching routine is vital to minimize this risk.

Warming up and stretching before a run allows you to get your blood flowing into the muscles, making them supple and ready for the challenge of the run. Stretching also gets the oxygen into your muscles, preparing them for the run. 

The final important point behind warm up stretches is that it prepares your heart for the workout to come, gently increasing its workload, thus reducing the risk of a blood pressure spike once you start exercising. 

How to Warm Up for Your Run 

Stretches are the best way to prepare your body for a run. Gentle stretches that gear your body up for the workload to come. 

It is important to have a rounded set of stretching exercises in your routine, giving attention to the core muscle groups that are going to be used. 

This means:

  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings

There are five core stretches that can form your pre-run warm up routine. These are:

Ankle Rotations

Sit on the floor, legs straight and rotate your ankles clockwise and then counterclockwise. 10-20 times each direction is sufficient. 

Calf Raises 

Stand on the balls of your feet a step or raised edge. Raise as far as you can onto your toes and then lower back down. 10-15 reps are all you need.

Walking Lunges

Take large steps lowering yourself until your front leg is bent at ninety degrees. Push off and repeat on the other leg. Repeat for 20 steps. 

Hip Flexor Swings

Hold onto a solid support and raise one leg off the floor. Swing it forward and backward 20 times to warm up your hips. Repeat for the other leg before moving onto the last exercise.

Hip Abductor Swings

Hold onto a solid support and raise one leg off the floor. Swing that leg along a horizontal before your standing leg. Repeat 20 times before switching to your other leg. 

You’re now warmed up and ready to run.

There’s More to Running than Just a Warm Up

A good warm up routine is vital for avoiding injury while running but it is not the only thing you need to consider. There are other factors that can contribute to injuries and even the simple enjoyment of running.

Start slow and build a program that will let you develop without feeling like you are not making any progress. Nobody stands up and runs a marathon the same week they start training. 

Check out some of our other posts to find interesting and inspiring running stories