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Why do I need to warm up before a run?

run warm up head

As the saying goes, “start as you mean to go on”. The same applies to running. Warming up for a run will prepare both your body and mind for the workout ahead.

It’s always tempting to skip the Warmup, but doing so can lead to worse performance, a lack of motivation and even injury, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to get your body and mind ready.

How should I warm up?

In short, it depends on the type of running.

Generally, the more intense the workout, the harder your Warmup should be. This means that for sprints and interval runs, you should warm up at a higher intensity than you would for a long recovery run. This means starting with a slow jog before building up to a few short bursts at 70% pace, followed by a sprint at full speed. Adding dynamic exercises like Jumps and High Knees will also ensure that your muscles are activated and prepared for the activity ahead.

For longer endurance runs, you can take a slower approach. The focus here is to raise your heart rate so that more oxygen and energy can be transported to the muscles and to activate the nervous system, increasing the efficiency with which signals are sent from the brain to the body. Depending on how long your run is, jog at a slow pace for five to ten minutes and avoid sprinting as this will make your muscles tighten once you settle into your run.

How do I stay warm during breaks?

The pauses in your workouts are there to give you time to recover. During fast workouts, it's fine to stand still, walk, jog or sit briefly. It's important to remember however, that when the temperature drops, it's better to keep moving than to let your body temperature drop.

Running during the breaks in moderate workouts is also fine, but this should be done at a much slower pace than the intervals. If you're just starting out running, try to always walk during the breaks. This is because your tendons, fasciae and ligaments are probably not yet used to the strain of running. Walking during the breaks will help stop your body being overburdened, which can also help to prevent injury. A brisk walk is best, as this keeps the heart rate up, but it's also important to conserve energy before longer periods of exertion.

Let's recap:

As running uses almost 70% of the muscles in the body, it is important to make sure you're ready for periods of high exertion. This is especially true for beginners, whose muscles are not yet used to the high intensity of training. Warming up properly will help reduce the soreness of muscles after training and increase flexibility and mobility, meaning that you can run harder, further and faster.