Why Should I Warm Up Before Running?

Hannah Coad – Myotherapist

We’ve all heard it before – that we should do a warm up before heading out for a run. However, that doesn’t always mean that we actually get around to doing it… quite often, getting out for a run in the first place can already seem like an effort, let alone adding on an extra 10 minutes beforehand to warm up. Is it really that important anyway?

The answer is… YES! If you want to boost your performance and decrease your chances of injury, then yes, it’s essential. A good warm up will:

  • Gradually increase your heart rate:
    This boosts blood flow around the body, especially to the muscles that will be working hard during your run. Increased circulation helps to deliver much needed oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, allowing them to keep up with the physical demands of running.
  • Improve body awareness:
    Performing specific exercises and drills provides an opportunity to get you thinking about how you move, deepening the connection between mind and body. It’s also a chance to refine movement patterns and work on your form, creating more safe and efficient movement.
  • Prime your muscles & joints for movement:
    A sports-specific warm up is essential for preparing your muscles and joints for the range of movement that will be required during your run. By doing this gradually via dynamic stretching and mobility exercises during your warm up, you’re less likely to injure these tissues once you get out and hit the pavement. This is especially important if you’ve just rolled out of bed, or spent your work day sitting at a desk!

So what type of warm up should you be doing? This will vary from runner to runner, based on their individual needs and the type of run they’re about to set off on (for example, an interval session versus a long steady run). As a general rule your warm up should be dynamic – getting the body moving. Long gone are the days of holding long, static stretches before exercising (if this is something you enjoy doing, save it for afterwards as you warm down). A warm up can last as little as 5-10 minutes, but can also be longer depending on the intensity you’ll be working at.

Try out the video below to get you started – this quick runners warm up will take you less than 10 minutes and is general enough to cover a range of different run sessions. If you’re looking for something more specific, get in touch to chat with one of our practitioners who you can assess your needs and put together the perfect plan to suit your goals.

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