A carefully planned warm up before a run gives you an edge by slowly elevating your heart rate to better distribute oxygen to your leg muscles. Increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles gives you greater flexibility and range of motion, and it reduces the chance of injury. The type of warm up you should do depends on both the distance and the pace of your run.
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Up to 10K
For any run up to a 10K, begin to warm up 20 minutes before the run. Start with a 10-minute jog at an easy pace, which should be no more than half of your 10K race pace. Afterward, do dynamic flexibility exercises for five minutes. These exercises might include walking lunges, walking side lunges, high-knee jogging, skipping for height, and arm swinging. Next, you can do plyometrics for two minutes. Plyometrics are a series of skipping, hopping and jumping exercises designed to improve your explosiveness as a runner. Finish with three minutes of 100 meter runs at race pace.
10K to half marathon
Start this warm up 20 minutes prior to the start of the half-marathon. Begin with a 10-minute jog at half your race pace. Ten minutes before the run, work for three minutes doing dynamic flexibility exercises. At seven minutes before starting your run, perform three runs of 200 metres each at your half-marathon race pace. Finish up with some static stretching, focusing on the hamstring, quadriceps and calf muscles.
Marathon or longer
For marathon distances or longer, begin warming up 15 minutes prior to the start of your run. Spend five minutes jogging at half your half-marathon race pace. Next, perform five minutes of dynamic flexibility exercises. If you feel tightness in a specific area, this is a good time to do some light, static stretching. Once you reach the five-minute mark, drink up to 350 ml of a sports drink to hydrate your body. Remember that with a longer race, you want to conserve your carbohydrate level. Keeping your warmup to a minimum ensures energy deep into the run.
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