When it comes to warming up, every athlete has their own routine of what they know works for them and prepares them for the session ahead. The warmup I do may not work for you or it may be completely different from yours, but it gets me physically and mentally ready for a tough session.
For me, my warmup is always split into three parts. I do a warmup jog, followed by drills, and I always finish with a few strides.
Warm up jog
My warmup jog is usually a couple of kilometres. I find this is the ideal distance for me as it loosens my legs up, but it doesn’t add any tiredness to them as it isn’t long enough to do so. This short jog wakes my body up and gets into the running flow, but it is also time for my mind to relax and switch off from the madness of the world before I embark on my session. I find the warmup jog the perfect time to separate my mind from the worries outside of running and just focus on the task ahead. Therefore, it isn’t only a body warmup, but also a mind warmup.
The next part of my warmup is drills. Drills are so important to do before sessions and can also be done outside of sessions in your garden! They help to improve the communication between your brain and your legs, allowing you to become more efficient. They also strengthen your muscles and wake them up for your upcoming session.
I always start my drills with some slower, more movement focused exercises to get my body working through different ranges of movement. This also helps work on my coordination and balance, preparing me for the fast-paced running to come.
I start with:
After these I then progress to some slightly faster moving drills. By now, my body has got used to working a little bit more and I have a bigger range of movement.
These are followed by leg swings in all directions. I tend to just balance myself on a tree or hold the shoulder of someone else. I do them to the front, side and back, and then the full motion from the front to back and sideways. I usually repeat each swing 6-10 times.
The final drill I do is fast-moving, forward and side knee lifts. I don’t know what these are actually called so I have attached a video. I find these good to again get my legs moving quickly through different movements.
Strides are the perfect way to prepare you for running at a faster, more intense pace. Whilst my body has usually warmed up by this point, I have only done slow running, therefore my body is not yet prepared for what is to come. I usually do up to four strides, and gradually ease off once I have got to decent pace rather than after a set distance. This gives my body a taste of the pace I am going to be running at, so it isn’t a complete shock when I start my first rep.
I have recently started incorporating strides at the end of my easy runs. Again, only up to four of them, but this loosens my legs up slightly after they have been monotonously turning around and around at the same pace for an extended period of time. I also really enjoy these strides, so it is something to look forward to when my run is over.
Ultimately, everyone’s warmup is slightly different. This may depend on what your coach has taught you, what works for you, and what different drills you have picked up over the years. I have developed mine to what it is currently by picking up different bits of information through the years.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!