This is a quick and easy warm up for runners to do before they start their sessions. It’s primarily targeted at the less experienced runner, particularly those whose fitness levels might not allow for a longer warm up and the main running session. It gets the blood circulating, the heart rate up, switches on the major muscles used for running, helps develop mobility, and prepares the mind for the task ahead.
Whilst it’s beneficial to warm up before any run, it’s especially important prior to launching into a track session or starting to run at speed.
This 10 minute warm up is not long, but it’s a more suitable warm up than many, many runners do before they start their run.
Warm up, part 1 (5 mins)
Jog, gently at first, gradually introducing some or all of the following:
Skipping, 10-20 seconds each leg
Hopping, 10-20 hops on each leg
Star jumps, 10-20
Backwards running, 10-20 seconds
Your ability should dictate the level of these exercises — don’t overdo it, these will become easier as your strength develops.
Warm up, part 2 (3 mins)
We now want to turn attention to some vital running muscles, and get them firing and working before they are asked to help us run properly: the glutes (or buttocks).
Lunges are a great exercise for this, 2 or 3 minutes for the less experienced; more time if you are used to performing them. An excellent video demonstration of some active lunges can be found on our body conditioning page. You might not want to do them all, but 3 minutes will get you well-prepared for the running ahead.
Warm up, part 3 (2 mins)
We use this final section to ease ourselves up to the speed we will be running during session or the race.
It’s easy to start a race much too fast if you have just been running faster than race pace during your warm up. It is also easy to feel sluggish at the start of a session or race if all you’ve done is some jogging and static stretching (as many people still do).
So, for example, if we are going to be running 10×400 at 5k pace, then a few short (50m or so) bursts at 5k pace will be suitable. Similarly, if we are about to race a half marathon, then we should do some half marathon paced strides before we start the race.
As mentioned, this warm up is short, but it will get your mind and body in the correct positive state for running.
If you are anxious about depleting your energy reserves by doing too much for your warm up, take a look at the effects of a long warm up before running.