Monday 25 November 2013

What's in a warm up?

OK, hands up if your idea of a pre-run warm up is a cuppa then a half-hearted hop around on the toes, with a side-to-side bouncy motion (y'know, that movement you do in the pens before a race, which does not warm you up at all)? 

*hand flies up*

See, the thing is, when I'm up at the crack of dawn to fit in my morning miles the last thing on my mind - or I have time for - is 'warming up'. Running IS a warm up, isn't it??

Strangely, while I'm happy to skip the warm up (as in give it a miss, not skip for my warm up...) I LOVE a bit of post-run stretching and quite enjoy Kara Goucher's pro-runner stretches on the Nike Training Club App. It has some nice yoga-esque stretches, takes about 15 minutes to complete, and you feel lovely, long and lean at the end. If only life could be one long cool down...

Alas, this post is about warm ups! 

At the track session I went to there was a good 15 minutes spent on warm up - 2 x jog round the track plus dynamic stretching - but I'm usually pushed for time so the warm up tends to get bumped down the priority list, and maybe it's just me, but I kind of feel a bit silly doing walking lunges along the main road in Clapham... 

Lately, however, as a number of my runner friends have been rendered sofa-bound due to injuries - get better soon guys! - I've started to think more about injury prevention. Thanks to recommendations from NY marathon runner extraordinaire Charlie, I've started listening to podcasts on my walk to work. One such podcast from Runners Connect seemed to fit the bill for my recent worries: Intelligent and Injury-Free Training. You can download it here.

In this interview, Jeff Gaudette outlines how important warm ups are. He says you should NEVER miss out on the warm up, even if it means you have to run a shorter distance if you're pushed for time. If time is an issue, he suggests the 'lunge matrix' - a 5-mine warm up featuring 5 types of lunge that can, if you're shy like me (haha!), be done in the comfort of your own home before stepping out the door. Here it is, from the wonderfully American Coach Jay Johnson:

Instead of making my excuses, I'm going to try to do at least this before I head out on a run - I'll just need to set the alarm 5 minutes earlier!! 

How do you warm up and cool down? Is the lunging enough? Could someone invent an awesome warm-up dance to a fabulous 80s track that I will never want to not do, please? That'd be lovely, thanks :)

Katy | City Girl Fit

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