By: Coach Mark Alfaro USAT1, CPT
One of the most critical parts to performing better for a workout or race is executing a proper warmup.
My best workouts and races have always started with a great warmup that has my mind and body ready for the task at hand.
The first step in executing the warmup is making it part of your training routine. PLAN for the first 10-15 minutes or the first 1-2 miles of the run as a warmup.
The second step is easing into it. Let your body naturally dictate your warmup, don’t force it. I don’t know how many times, I get to a workout and people go off running close to race pace and barely survive the rest of the workout.
The third step is dynamic stretching or drills. Somewhere in the middle of the warmup, stop and complete 3-4 dynamic stretches or drills to pre-stretch and activate the muscles. “Dynamic” stretches or drills involve an exaggerated movement of the physical activity. In our case, we want to exaggerate and pre-stretch the muscles involved in the running motion. Examples of these would be lunges, leg swings, lateral drills, high knees and butt kicks.
Lunges (3 way – front, back and side) – Activate your quadriceps in leading leg and pre-stretching the hip flexor and opposite quadriceps. Do 2 sets of 5 for each leg.
Leg Swings – Swing each leg as high as you can back and forth. You can do this walking or in place. This will help stretch the hamstrings and glutes and activate the hip flexors as well. Do 2 sets of 10 for each leg.
Lateral Drills – In an athletic (football) stance or squat position, shuffle 10 steps to the right and 10 steps to the left to activate the groin and smaller muscle groups for stability. Do this twice each direction.
High Knees – The goal is to maintain a straight back and strong core while bringing your knee as high and as quickly possible. Do this for 10-15 yards and finish with a 10-15 yard stride.
Butt Kicks – Similar to high knees, maintain a straight back and strong core and bringing your feet as close to your glutes as quickly as possible. Do this for 10-15 yards and finish with a 10-15 yard stride.
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