For far too many runners, warming up and stretching takes a backseat when it comes to their fitness regime. They'll give you all manner of reasons as to why they don’t bother with it, only to find themselves plagued by injury, and hobbling around after a particularly hard run.
Stretching should always feature in your warm-up routine, as it increases your joints' range of movement (ROM), improves performance and reduces the risk of soreness or injury.
So now you know why you should warm up, you just need to know how to warm up for a run.
There are two types of stretching: static and dynamic.
Static stretching involves moving a limb to the end of its ROM and then holding that stretched position for 15 to 60 seconds. Dynamic stretching involves controlled movement through the active range of motion for each joint.
Dynamic stretching has a positive effect on performance when used prior to exercise
According to a recent scientific paper, dynamic stretching has a greater positive effect on performance when used prior to exercise, as it primes both the muscles and nervous system – which is why I've used dynamic stretching for this warm-up programme.
Static stretching still has a place in your fitness regime, as it can increase ROM – but keep it for your post-run cool-down.
Jonny's 6-Part Warm-Up Programme
Set out a distance of 10 to 20 metres. Perform the first movement – walking calf-raises – along the full length of this distance. Then walk back to your starting position, shaking yourself out as you go.
Perform the movement a second time, walk back to your starting position again, and move on to the next movement – and so on.
For the leg swings, perform 10 to 15 swings per leg.
1. Walking Calf-Raises
2. Walking Lunges
3. High Knees
4. Hamstring Walk-Throughs
5. Heel Kicks
6. Leg Swings
You are now fully primed and ready to rock. Go break some records!