Whether you are making your first attempt at a fun run or you are seasoned runner, everyone should have an appropriate warm up routine.
The Performance and Rehabilitation team at Absolute Health & Performance have got together to provide you with a warm up routine to help prevent injury and boost your performance on the day.
Simply put, the goal of a warm up routine should be to expose your body to positions and forces of the required task, so that your nervous system and physiological mechanisms are ready to go from the starting gun. The following movements and exercises will have you peaking to perform.
There is a lot of contention these days about the benefits of static stretching – there is research indicating it can reduce power output and performance for a period of time afterwards. Generally, we suggest more dynamic stretching to avoid this response, and encourage you not to hold stretches for longer than 5 seconds. In these stretches we add arm and leg drivers to introduce slightly different directional forces to traditional muscular stretches. Below, Osteopath Ashley Gudgeon takes us through an ideal pre-run stretching routine.
- 3D hip flexor
- 3D calf
- 3D hamstrings
- 3D adductors
- Leg swings
After putting your muscles through their range of motion, it’s time to start exposing them to load. It is estimated that your body absorbs 2-3 times your body weight of ground reaction forces with every stride. The aim of these movements is to prepare you to tolerate these high loads. Osteopath Matt Wallace-Smith demonstrates movement routines – popularised by biomechanics experts at the Gray Institute in the USA – that he performs prior to any training run.
- Single leg, pivot reaches – because the majority of time spent in running is on one leg, single leg balance is vitally important. Opposite leg drivers are added to encourage your nervous and muscular systems to deal with and counteract various forces to maintain balance so you have a good platform to drive yourself forward. The focus here is on controlled movement. Perform each pivot 5 times on each leg.
- Walking lunge sequence – this sequence of lunges starts to add load to the body similar to that of running. We include various arm drivers to accentuate loads to different parts of the body. Perform each lunge sequence 10 times (5 per leg).
With your body now prepared for tolerating movement and high loads, it’s time do what you’re there for – run. A fundamental part of the warm up to increase temperature of the tissues, and Performance Coach Stephen Hissey recommends performing 5×20 second race pace efforts, with approximately 20 seconds rest in between.
This routine should take you no longer than 10 minutes. Generally, we recommend finishing your warm up routine 5 minutes before the starting gun. However, this isn’t always practical and you may be forced to warm up earlier than ideal. If this is the case, try to maintain some level activity before the race begins, such as jogging on the spot, alternating lunges etc.
Recovery is a fundamental principle of any activity. A few simple steps can be taken to recover properly will ensure the benefits are felt in the long term. Although we try to avoid static stretching pre-exercise, they can be safely included in a recovery routine. Soft Tissue Therapist James Meredith outlines some helpful recovery tips to help you feel good and get you back out on the track come Monday morning.
Standing calf stretch
Standing hamstring stretch
Standing quad stretch
Standing deep back stretch
For more great recovery tips, check out our previous blog post Recovery
By following these simple routines your body will be primed to perform when you’re at the start line this Mother’s Day. If you’re seeking to improve your personal best, trying to get back to the pavement after injury, or simply want to improve your fitness level, come and see our highly credentialed team at 199 William St, Melbourne CBD for the highest level of injury rehabilitation health and performance services.