There are several approaches on how to warm up properly before a race and everyone can choose a routine that adapts best to their needs but one thing is pretty clear: not warming up before running can negatively affect your overall performance and heightens the risk of injuries, so it’s crucial that you take its importance seriously.
An ideal warmup should allow your muscles, joints, and bones to loosen up. Your heart rate increases and blood flows more dynamically through your body helping get the right tone for your run, whether is a 5k, half-marathon or full marathon.
STEP 1: WALK
Many skip this one but its low intensity makes it perfect to start waking up your body before more demanding physical effort. It allows your body to make small adaptations that strengthen your feet, knees, and hips.
You can do this from three to five minutes and your brain will receive the message that it’s time to be active. Walking is a great aid for those who are coming back after an injury and want to burn stages consciously to avoid any relapse.
STEP 2: DO STRIDES
Strides (also known as “pick-ups” or “accelerations”) are a vital element of developing your speed and coordination. They only take a few minutes and can be done anywhere.
Start a jog and accelerate to about 95% of your full speed, and then gradually slow to a stop.
They should be about 100m long and 20 to 30 seconds is the average time needed to complete one stride.
Do 3-4 of these and walk 60 to 90 seconds between each series to catch your breath. Recovery time is fundamental to improve your performance, so don’t rush it.
Remember to stay relaxed during the stride and not overwork yourself.
STEP 3: PRACTICE SOME DYNAMIC STRETCHES
This just means that you move as you stretch and it’s been gaining popularity among amateur and pro runners alike because the “static stretching”, which requires holding a stretch for 10 or more seconds while motionless, is been linked to injuries and its practice is now discouraged.
Dynamic stretches activate your muscles, increases heart rate and body temperature, it also improves body awareness and range of motion helping you feel more limber.
Get the most of your run and minimize the risk of injuries with a proper warm-up. Surely your performance will benefit from it!