Athletes (especially beginners) hate warming up. It’s as if they are about to waste that extra energy that can be used to push the body further.
Without proper warmup routine, which should be tailored towards the movements of your race or workout routine, you are most likely to experience one of the following:
- Earlier onset muscle fatigue
- Risk of injury
- Lack of range of motion
- Less blood and thus oxygen being pumped into your limbs
- Irregularities in heart rate
And many other aspects that add up to general underperformance.
Back when I started doing track and running with purpose, I used to warm up as I was forced into hefty routines. This was not pretty but did the deed. In the end performance always suffered. As previously mentioned: saving up the energy for later efforts didn’t help out when going got tough.
On the contrary, those 15 minutes, however, could make a difference between hitting a wall mid-race or finishing like a boss.
- Dynamic stretches and easy movement mimicking your movement in the race/training session (e.g. running – strides, lunges, jogging; monkey bars and grip – dynamic forearm and wrist stretches etc.). You are basically moving progressively into the race/training session.
- Static stretches. Jesus, what is going on there… How many people do you see before events stretching their quads and calves with static stretches? Too many. These type of stretches are even worse than no stretching at all.
So how should a warmup routine for OCR/running look like?
Here’s a quick demo of the basics:
My running routine before running event performed just the other day, consists of 3 parts:
Part 1: 1 mile of easy <75% HRM jog with some progressions. Purpose here is to prepare soft tissue to upcoming tougher efforts. It usually takes around 10 minutes.
Part 2: Loosening up the upper and lower body. This includes:
- Arms swings: forward, backwards, sideways
- Neck stretches in all directions
- Ankle stretches in circular motion
- Lower back warmup with alternate toe touches
- Leg swings: forward, backwards, sideways
- Hip opening moves moving legs in a bent knee position in a circle
- Side twist jumps
- Dynamic lunges
Part 3: Strides. All with progressions
- Marching stride skips
- Butt kicks
- High knee kicks
That’s the essential bits that will not take longer than 15 minutes to prepare your body to hustle. Your warmup routine in the end might look a bit different, and that’s fine. However, for the sake of your performance and wellbeing – don’t do those terrible static stretches. Leave them for the after your workout or a race is done.