Welcome to Running Essentials Thursday! In case you’ve missed it, Thursdays are officially dedicated to running related topics for the summer months. Here’s what we’ve covered so far:
- The importance of “rolling out”
- Post Run 10-Minute Core Workout
- Do I have to Run 5 Days a Week to be a Runner?
Today it’s all about the warm-up.
Before a Race
If your goal is to finish the race, not finish in a specific amount of time you may be able to skip the warm-up. On the other hand if you are trying to set a P.R. then a warm-up becomes necessary. You want you’re body to be ready to run at race pace when the gun goes off.
A short, easy run that includes a few strides is a great way to warm-up. To determine how long you should run before a race you have to figure out how long it takes your body to warm-up. For me that depends on my fitness level at that specific time. The better shape I’m in the longer it takes me to warm-up. Typically, I run easy for 20 minutes before a race.
Additional ways to warm-up besides jogging/stretching:
In the winter, I tend to warm-up indoors with something similar to this Runner’s World routine:
Do I need to warm-up for every run?
No. Simply put there isn’t always time for a warm-up (especially when running at 5:30 a.m.). However, if you run the first portion of your run at a slower pace and ease into your run you’ll feel much better, then if you hit the pavement running at fast tempo.
Does the warm-up include stretching? Should I stretch before I run?
The general rule of thumb is to wait until your muscles are warm before you stretch them. Realizing that some muscles just scream for a stretch, it isn’t going to kill you if you stretch pre-run or pre-warm-up. Just be careful not to over stretch or force it.
Ideally, you would do any needed stretches after the warm-up. Stretches that I would include are ones for the hamstrings, quads, psoas, calves, glutes, and low back (but that’s just because my back tightens up).
What about you do you do a warm-up before a race?