Warming up for running is imperative. Not only does this brief activity give your bones, joints, and muscles a chance to loosen up, it allows your heart rate to increase gradually, making it easier for your body to maintain the correct rhythm during your run. If you don’t warm up before running, your risk of injury could be significantly higher. Before you break out the trainers, use this easy running warm-up routine to prepare your body for action.
Stretching should be the first thing that you do to prepare yourself for a run. It helps loosen your muscles and tendons so that your body is prepared. Start with static stretches like 30-second toe-touches. Finish this portion with:
- Forward and backward arm swings
- Walking lunges
- Side-to-side leg swings
- Gluteal kicks
- Jogging in place
When you’re first establishing your activity levels, this portion can feel a bit like a workout all on its own. That’s okay; just take it slow and go at your own pace. Complete each type of stretch for between 20 and 30 seconds before continuing with your running warm up.
Walking or Jogging
After stretching, you should continue your running warm up by segueing into walking. Make sure you’re traveling at a brisk pace to slowly elevate your heart rate. The easiest way to monitor your speed and heart rate is by using a treadmill for the walking portion of your warm up, but there are other options for those who crave a bit more freedom.
If you’re walking outside or around a track, consider using some form of wearable technology to monitor your heart rate as you go. You don’t need to walk for a long time to increase your heart rate; a five to 10 minute walk is sufficient for a long run.
If you’re only doing a short run, consider increasing the amount of time you walk during your warm up to between 20 and 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can jog at a slow pace instead of walking at a brisk pace.
End your running warm-up routine by doing strides. To do strides, you’ll run for 20 seconds at the pace that you’re trying to maintain during your run, and then walk for an additional 20 seconds. Strides help prime your muscles for running, make the beginning of your run less shocking to your body and help your body get into a good workout pace for your run.
Pre-workout warm-ups aren’t just wise, they’re critical to prevent injury and achieve excellent results. With the above tips and the right equipment, it’s easy to create a running warm up routine that you’ll stick with and enjoy all at once.