Let's talk about something that a lot of runner's take lightly: doing a warm up before you run!
Contrary to popular belief there is no scientific evidence that warming up before a run will actually reduce the risk of injury. Does this mean that we should skip it all together?
No! Although the link is missing there are still some extremely important benefits that are derived from warming up and cannot be ignored.
Here they are:
When one thinks of a warming-up they often picture a runner on the sidelines stretching it out. However there is a lot more thought that goes into creating an effective warm-up plan.
The structured warm up consists of a General Phase and Specific Phase.
The General Warm-Up
The general warm up is used to fulfill the 7 benefits of performing a warm-up before a run. Basically, we want to get that blood pumping and our muscles nice and warm and ready to move! What we do not want to do is to reduce our energy reserves and cause fatigue. This should be energizing not energy zapping!
This general warm-up phase should last anywhere from 5-10 minutes and should consist of repetitive, low intensity movements. Walking, light jogging, slow jumping jacks, are all examples of repetitive movements. The idea is to just move and since we will be using our legs we want to do something that will increase blood flow to our lower extremities.
NOTE: Keep this phase to 10 minutes or less as the beneficial effects will begin to plateau any longer than this.
A lot of runners just like to keep their general warm-ups to a light jog. If you are looking for something different here are a few ideas.
The Specific Warm-Up
The specific warm up consists of doing movements that are, like the name suggests, specific to running. The most obvious is to keep with a light jog but here is where you may feel the urge to include some stretching. However be warned. You only want to participate in active dynamic stretching vs. static stretching.