(image credit: thesportinmind.com)
Hey RMA crew,
With Gold Coast coming up next week I wanted to talk just a little about warm ups today because I know there’s a bit of confusion out there with so many different options for warming up. There will be some runners out there who talk about warming up in the ‘first couple of kilometres’ on course which always gives me a laugh but also makes me nervous as well! With running warm up is priority for injury prevention AND performance.
Where the confusion often lies is what to do for your warm up?
When I was doing my running as a teenager, warm ups were a series of static stretches, that is holding your quad stretch for around twenty seconds then moving on to glutes, hammies, whatever. Recent research has put a bit of a cloud over this type of stretching for a warm up. The reason being that evidence suggests static stretches decrease your strength for a short period of time as well as slightly increasing your risk of injury. So these days we don’t do the longer stretches pre race. Instead we use dynamic stretches which is sort of a combination of movement and stretching. You’ll see elite athletes near the start line doing their run throughs, acceleration, deceleration, change of direction then lying on their backs and doing their scissor kicks, their leg swings, these are dynamic stretches. They take the joints through full movement till end range but don’t hold them too long. As a runner you want to use similar strategies so warm ups should involve getting your body moving and your blood pumping, a gentle jog, your functional dynamic stretches for legs AND upper body then increasing to faster pace right up to race pace without wearing yourself out! Biggest thing to be aware of with your warm up is listen to your own body.
I personally don’t believe there’s a one size fits all strategy and you see that with your elite runners. Some do shorter warm ups, some longer. Some athletes still do a bit of static stretching, particularly if they have had an old injury and some not at all. I’ll do a more in depth article on warm ups soon because it’s a great topic to explore the nuances of the body in detail from runner to runner, as well as look at specific strength strategies to get the RIGHT muscle ready to go.
Check out this warmup with the RIFREV crew down at Albert Park earlier in the year, http://www.rifrev.com/running-injury-free/best-warmup-for-running
I’m getting excited about Gold Coast people! Can’t wait to meet you all there. Have fun with your runs this week guys!
For another warm up routine you can look at our Coach Kate’s warm up here and print it out and stick it to your fridge to remember! https://runningmumsaustralia.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/8-dynamic-warm-up-exercises-for-runners/