Are you guilty of these two runners crimes? Do you ALWAYS warm up before and stretch after your run
Are you guilty of these two runners crimes? Do you ALWAYS warm up before and then stretch after your runs?
So many runners do it (or don’t). They laces up their trainers, head out the door and just run.
But that'a recipe for disaster and could get you injured
You should always warm up before a run to get your body and mind prepared for your training or the race ahead.
The aim of a warm up is to get your body ready for running by increasing your body temperature, raising your heart rate and increasing your breathing before you set off.
Warming up before you set off will also get your muscles and joints prepared for the workout ahead, so they're warmer allowing a more 'fluid' movement as you start to run, which leads to better running form, improved performance and you will reduce you risk of injury.
So if warming up is so essential, why do so many runners skip a good warm up?
In our busy lives we're on autopilot most of the time and often fitting in a run is difficult. It's a case of lacing up our trainers and setting off!
I've been guilty of doing this too! But I learned the hard way and got injured.
You’re super busy, but a warm up shouldn’t take long, and will set you up for the workout ahead.
Before you run you need to get your body warm and your heart and lungs going, so first you should get moving with some Power Walking.
Power Walking is an ideal low-intensity activity to ease your body into workout mode.
Walking uses the same muscles and joints as running, and whilst walking you’ll get the blood flowing to all the muscles you’ll need for running to warm them up.
Next add in Strides and some Dynamic Stretches. Strides will really get you going as you pick up the pace from walking to running.
After your 5 minutes walking jog for a few minutes then gradually pick up the pace for about 100m then bring it down. Shake out your legs and run back in the opposite direction. Repeat each set of “strides” 2 or 3 times to get your blood flowing and heart rate raised ready to run.
Then before you run do some Dynamic Stretches (rather than static stretches that have been found can lead to injury) to mobilise your legs and joints and you’re good to go!
What about after running?
A proper cool down after your running is just as important as warming up corrently.
Just as a warm up prepared your body for exercise your cool down is all about easing back down and preparing your body to return to it's resting state.
A cool down allows your body temperature to drop, your heart rate to slow down and your breathing to return to normal.
If you stop too suddenly then the blood that's pumping around your body taking nutrients to your legs can 'pool in the legs' which can make you feel a little dizzy.
Spend a few minutes Jogging Easy and then Walking to allow your body to return to a 'more normal' state. Gradually reducing your running and movement effort will allow metabolic by products from your running to be ‘drained’ from your legs which can help reduce muscle soreness after running.
The longer and harder your run the longer your cool down period should be. I usually cool down for about 5 - 10 minutes depending on the intensity of my run.
After you've cooled down from your workout it's important to Stretch out your worked muscles and foam roll if you’ve had a hard long run.
Static Stretches, focusing on your legs help to ease your worked muscles, that might have tightened up during your run, help to dissipate lactic acid and return your muscles to their pre run state.
So now you know, make sure you always warm up and cool down to help keep yourself injury free and to improve your running performance and recovery.
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