When I get up on a morning I have my routine as I am sure you do too? I have a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed and then I have my breakfast. These are all to prepare me for my day ahead, to help me make the most of my day, if I skip any of these there are consequences later on during the day. (Especially if I don’t get dressed ha ha….).
The same goes for running as well, we need to prepare our bodies to tackle the elements, so before every run we need to do some running warm up exercises.
So why should we warm up? I here you ask
Well once upon a time research found that you did not need to warm up before exerting your body, this wasn’t just for running but any exercise, this is now not the case. There are still people out there today not warming up or doing very little warm up. A walk of 1 minute or a light jog is just not going to cut it, ahhhhhhhhhhh
If we warm up we can first of all maximise our workouts. It takes time for our bodies to reach their optimum level to perform just like a car, when you first turn the engine on in the morning your car still works and goes but has to work harder for all the cogs to work to get motion. We are just the same, as human beings, if we warm up properly, our bodies are already at that ultimate level, so we run faster, harder and longer to get the most out of our runs.
Another area is to help prevent injuries so we are not out for weeks, months or permanently not doing the things we enjoy. I think permanently is under extreme circumstances but never the less this can still happen and I don’t want this to be you. When we warm up it starts speeding up the flow of blood around the body and helps to lubricate the joints to help prevent strains or tears on the body. One of the conditions this could contribute to is arthritis later on in life.
The final area that I would like to bring to your attention, I am going to ask in a question? Would you like your running workouts to be easier?? Yes easier… studies have shown that those who do running warm up exercises before a work out find the work out easier than those who don’t (I personally think that one is a wow factor) I mean who on God’s green earth would not want an easier work out. I am not saying it would be as easy as say sitting in front of the television but you get want I am trying to say.
When I very first started running I will be honest with you ….wait for it I didn’t warm up. Then all the muscles in my legs would be tight and this would take a few days, sometimes a week to heal. I would then start running again once I was fully healed. However when I started putting a warm up in my routine I could run more often because my running muscles where ready and stretched.
Now we have established why we warm up I want to discuss with you the warm up itself!
There is no magic formula for warm up drills there are quite a few different exercises out there, you will need to choose a warm up plan that suits your own fitness level.
Here is James’ top tip!
Before you start any sort of running or any type of exercise please discuss this with your doctor
The warm up itself should take 5-10 minutes and mostly comprise of dynamic stretches, these are what I use and I find them most effective before my runs.
A dynamic stretch is a stretch that uses momentum and muscle effort, with no end position held to warm up the targeted area.
Some examples of dynamic exercises are legs swings, squats and this one made me laugh when i first saw it, type in fire hydrant exercise into YouTube and you will know what I mean.
If you wish to add in some sort of light run or jog this is fine, however you can get your heart beat raised with stretches so this is why I just stick to the stretches to save a job.
There are lots of warm up exercises for running on the internet and I find YouTube very useful as I can do the exercises while watching, just until you get the hang of it tho, as I think you should be concentrating on your form rather than your mobile or TV screen. If you are any thing like me….
The exercises can be done indoors or outside as long as you have enough room. Also a towel or yoga mat may come in handy because some of the exercises will need to be done on the floor depending on what you choose.
I know that when we are passionate about some thing, we want to dive straight in, I am the same myself but we have to look at the bigger picture and take care of our bodies, so that we can get the most out of our runs. So what ever happens DON’T BE LAZY for the sake of 5- 10 minutes to make your runs of fantastic quality and lower chance of injury.
What do think about warm ups, please leave a comment below.