How many times have you stepped outside and immediately started running? Or drove to the park and darted off for your 5 mile run without thinking twice?
These types of “cold starts” may be hindering your runs and can affect your body later on. Trying warming up instead.
Why Runners Should Warm Up Before They Run
It’s common for runners – especially beginner runners to skip the warmup and immediately start their run for the day. While you may feel good right now, over time skipping the warm up could lead to injury, muscle soreness, and reduced performance.
Why Is Warming Up Necessary?
Benefits of Warming Up
If you were a pro basketball player, you wouldn’t put on your uniform and immediately head out to face your opponent right? Instead, you would practice shooting and a few drills to get your heart rate up and get your mind ready for the game.
The same concept applies to running.
Warming up before running is important because it helps prevent injury. While there are a lot of factors to why runners get injured, studies have shown that many injuries are related to training errors. Training errors include things like running too fast, too much, or improper recovery.
Two of those can be avoided with proper warm-ups, stretching, and cooldowns.
Another benefit of warming-up is that it increases your body temperature which can help activate your muscles and improve your range of motion. With proper muscle activation, your running performance can be improved so that you’ll get the most out of your runs.
What Happens If You Don’t Warm Up
Warmups are crucial because it activates your muscles and increases your heart rate to get your blood flowing. This helps your body perform at its best.
Getting the most out of your run is how you become a better and stronger runner. We’ve all had those times where we ran our first mile way too fast and we’re trying to hang on the rest of the run. Or we start off way too slow and try to do what we can to still get a decent time.
Having lackluster miles or dying midway through your runs won’t help you reach your goal pace or build your endurance.
How Should You Warm Up?
The length of your warm up depends on how much work you need to do to feel “warm”. Or in other words, how much you need to move in order to wake your body up. This could be anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes (or longer if you are doing a time trial).
The important part is that you are gradually increasing your speed and movements so that you can prepare yourself to give your best effort on your actual run. Remember this is a warm up! Don’t try to go all out or speed through your exercises.
Take your time and let your body loosen up.
It’s important to note that warming up will depend on a lot of factors including the type of run you’re doing, your fitness level, and the weather. In the colder months, I would suggest taking the extra time to warm up slowly. This is especially important if you live somewhere with freezing temperatures.
Also, find exercises and drills that work your whole body and not just your legs. You can do dynamic stretching, use your body weight, or use resistance bands to warm up.
Examples of Warm Up Routines
I posted on Instagram a short clip of some of the exercises I do to warm up. Be sure to follow me!
If you’d like to incorporate more dynamic stretching or would rather warm up before you head outside, try following along with Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga for Runners video:
Final Thoughts on Warming Up
Even though it may seem like you don’t have enough time to warm up and go for a run, it will be worth it in the end. Try waking up a few minutes earlier and add warm up time to your schedule so that you can prevent injuries and become a stronger runner.