Portland Run TEAM
Local News from the Road
Why We Warm Up
Hey there, Luna Chix!
My pre-run thought process is mainly focused on selecting the right shoes and the right route. Once that is decided, I’m ready to just bolt out the door running! Consequently, I tend to skip something that can really improve my run: A warm up.
I used to think warming up was pointless for me. After all, I’m just a recreational runner and I’m usually only going for 4 or 5 miles. Don’t I warm up while running anyway?
Whether it’s a time issue…
“I’ve only got 45 minutes. A warm up will cut in to my precious run time!”
or a purpose issue…
“I’m not racing and I’m not a competitive athlete in training. I’m just going for a run.”
or a how-to issue…
“Static stretches were in, now they’re out. So I don’t know what to do anyway.”
…there are lots of reasons to skip a warm up. So I often did.
While I started as an adult-onset walk/jogger for charity, there came a point when I realized I enjoyed running and I was getting better at it. I was skipping my walk breaks and slipping under 10 minute miles. Suddenly, I realized I was capable of improving and admitted to myself that I really wanted too.
On a work trip, I signed up for a 5k that started a block away from my hotel. For the first time since my Team in Training days, I spent 10 minutes warming up prior to the race. I saw another guy who looked really fast and lean doing some hops and strides and I just kind of copied him from a distance. It was the first time I ran a 5k under 30 minutes and I was so freaking excited!
We all run for different reasons. Some of us want to compete and be our best/fastest. Some for general fitness or weight loss. Some of us run for stress relief, “me time”, meditation. Some of us might even run just because we LIKE too. No matter what your reason, a warm up is a great idea. It sets you up to make the most out of your run, mentally, physically and spiritually.
Warm Up = Mind Prep
If I just take off running without a warm up, I tend to get distracted by my thoughts. The warm up is a great time to SET MY INTENTIONS for my run.
If I’m doing a training run, the warm up is time to remind myself that working harder is worth it. As I jog I think about what my “comfortable” pace is and how I want that to get faster. As I do some leg swings or lunges I think about how I’m going to make this run count. Doing this keeps me mindful during my run and I’m a lot less likely to say, “Oh heck, this is hard” and slow down. If the run is for “me time” or stress relief, I pick some positive visualizations during my warm up (an upcoming vacation, a recent personal victory) to help me get in a relaxed and peaceful state.
And, if we’re out at a group run and warming up, it’s the perfect time to reinforce a no-judgement mindset. As I warm up, I am getting in tune with MY body and will focus on and celebrate what MY body can do, no comparison with others, no concern about being judged.
Warm Up = Body Prep
I joke that it takes me 3 miles to “warm up”. What I mean is, if I just head out my door and start running, it takes 3 miles for my body to feel like everything is syncing up efficiently. I love that feeling! However, if I would just take 5-10 minutes to warm up, it usually doesn’t take me nearly as long to get to that point. A warm up makes my run more effective and more enjoyable!
More scientifically, a good warm up prepares your body to work more efficiently and reduces the risk of injury by loosening you up and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Check these links below for warm up ideas and tips that you can do before your next run!
[This content was modified from a post that was original published on December 11th, 2013 at http://runninghutch.com/course-of-action/running/before-you-run-warm-up/].