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When we ask runners how they warm-up to run, we often get the same response: “I run… slowly… and then faster.”
This deep into the running season and with more intense races still coming, one of the most important things a runner can do is warm-up properly.
Warming-Up is Important
Warming-up energizes the nervous system. It sends a message to your body that you’re headed for a run. It also prepares your muscles, tendons, bones, and sensory system for the impact they are about to experience. Much like warming-up a shower before jumping in, a good warm-up can provide a much more comfortable experience.
Be Dynamic!
Many runners feel the need to static stretch prior to running, but with a static stretch, your body gets the message to relax. It also lengthens your musculature. In reality, a bit of muscle stiffness can be good for running performance. Instead of performing static stretches, perform a dynamic warm-up. It will help our body prepare to move.
A Good Warm-Up has Two Things
A good warm-up includes two major components:
1. Dynamic stretching
2. A series of low-level plyometrics to stimulate your musculature.
Use These Warm-Ups Next Time you Run
Try these warm-ups before your next run to optimize performance and reduce your risk for muscle strains and overuse injuries:
Rotational Calf Stretch
In a calf stretch position, rotate your body around the back foot.

Walking Hamstring Stretch
Get into a lunge position and then lift your hips as high as possible.

Rotational Lunge Walk
Walking lunge with maximal trunk rotation over the front leg.

Forward and Backward Skips
Perform 2 laps (10 yards) or skips. Down forward, back backward.

Side Shuffle
Perform 2 laps of side shuffles with big arm swings.

Carioca
Perform 2 laps of carioca. Keep your upper body still and rotate your hips maximally forward and backward.

Work these into every pre-run routine and make them a habit, a ritual. First you’ll benefit from moving, but eventually, your body will recognize the cues better and all your running systems will start to engage just by performing this simple warm-up.
Happy running!