Be honest, do you have a pre run warm up routine? If the answer is no, you are not alone. Whether to meet specific goals, stay fit or simply clear our heads, many of us run. Yet the vast majority of us will fail to warm up and implement a pre run routine that can involve a mixture of dynamic stretching, balance, plyometric and isometric exercises. If you are running at a higher intensity than usual over any distance, it is important to warm up beforehand. If you are considering longer distance runs, it is important to make sure you are not significantly increasing your distance (training load) if you are looking to avoid injury. Today we are discussing the importance of a pre run warm up routine and offering advice on creating one. 

Pre Run Warm Up: Do I Need to Warm Up Before I Run? 

The simple answer is yes, however there are exceptions to this rule. If you are an experienced runner choosing to have an easy run day less emphasis can be placed on a warmup as the deliberate reduction in run intensity is unlikely to overload muscles and tendon tissue. If you are planning a run of higher intensity that could involve speed or hill work then you do need to explore, and implement, running or jogging warm up exercises. 
Many runners get themselves into a competitive headspace before they start, adrenaline surges and the concept of warming up is forgotten. 
 
You are far more susceptible to injury when there is a sudden shift in a training intensity that your body is not used to. A warmup will help the body prepare for the physical activity ahead, and can help optimise your running efficiency. 
It appears that many people fail to warm up because they simply do not know how. Once you have a basic understanding and routine in place, it really does not take very long to warm up properly. Some people may see this as an inconvenience, but pre run warmups can make you enjoy your run so much more than starting cold. 
 
Your body needs to be prepared for the work and terrain ahead, and this is exactly what a pre run warm up routine will do. Increasing or decreasing stiffness in the appropriate muscles and tendons groups will help the body to prepare for the loading to come and can also help reduce pre-existing discomfort. This way, you are far more likely to perform well and feel energised doing so. 

What is the Best Way to Warm Up Before a Run? 

There is a lot of advice out there on the best way to warm up before a run. This means, to an extent, you have a lot of choice, however, make sure the warmup exercises you choose are specific to you and the goals that you want to achieve pre run. 
 
Walking 
Walking for a few minutes is a good place to start. It is a low intensity activity that will help your body transition from sitting mode to running mode. Walking mimics for your body what will happen during the upcoming run but does so at a lower intensity. 
 
Dynamic Stretching 
Is active movement that will help improve range of motion and reduce muscle stiffness. Choose exercises that make you recognise where you are stiff for example if you feel tight in your hip flexors try an exercise like walking lunges where you feel the stiffness in the front of the hip of your back leg as you lunge forward. There are a vast number of dynamic stretches you can follow, and these can be accessed easily online. 
 
Balance 
If you recognise that your balance is not the best, try some exercises that challenge your balance like single leg standing, while twisting your trunk or moving in and out of an arabesque position 
 
Plyometrics 
Are fast or powerful movements which are best performed after dynamic stretching and balance exercises, they help prepare the body for muscle power and drive. Examples of plyometric exercises include squat jumps, double leg bounds, running quickly on the spot with high knees 
 
Isometrics 
If you have tendon pain, you may be familiar with these exercises already. An isometric exercise is when a muscle is contracted and then held for a period of time in which there is no joint movement. These types of exercises can often relieve pain which may be present in muscle tendons pre run, making your run more enjoyable. 

Advice On Your Pre Run Warm Up and More 

We hope you enjoyed our article on the importance of a warmup routine, as well as the best way to warm up before a run. We offer a number of services aimed at runners. Our gait analysis service will help runners identify how they run, making it easier to purchase tailored trainers and rectify any recurring injuries. 
Get in touch with the team here at Colchester Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic for honest advice and recommendations! 

Author 

Craig Fowlie 

Craig is a highly specialized physiotherapist with post graduate qualifications in Acupuncture and Sports and Exercise Medicine. 
 
He has worked with Professional Rugby sides in New Zealand and has assisted Great Britain Table Tennis at the World Team Championships and Olympic Qualifiers in Qatar and Germany. He is a consultant for the Governments Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme and has published and presented research in the Journal of Physiotherapy and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Annual Conference. 
 
Outside of work he enjoys participating socially in triathlon and running. 
Tagged as: Pre Run Warm Up
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