What to Do Before You Run

What to do before you run

What to Do Before You Run

Follow these simple yet effective warm-up tips from our Podiatrist Trevor Proskewitz before you head out for a run.

A smart warm-up gives your muscles, bones and joints a chance to loosen up. It gradually and gently increases your heart rate and makes it easier to get into the rhythm you want to sustain so you can run – and finish – strongly. Follow these simple methods to warm up:

Walk: Walk gently for three to five minutes. The motion of walking takes the muscles, tendons and joints through a range of motion that’s similar to what it will go through in running, explains exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton, coach of Running Strong. This not only brings up the temperature of your muscles and your core, but also enhances the blood flow to all the muscles you’ll need for running and sends your brain the message that it’s time to go.  

Static stretching, where you hold a muscle in an elongated, fixed position for 30 seconds or more, is now discouraged pre-run, as it’s been linked to injury.

Dynamic stretching: It uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature and blood flow to help you run more efficiently.

Try this routine, which targets the muscles used for running. Start slowly, focusing on form; as the moves get easier, pick up speed. Use small movements for the first few reps and increase the range of motion as you go.

Skipping ­– Try skipping for 25 to 50 metres, gradually increasing the height and range of each skip as you go.

Side step/shuffle ­– Step to the side, 10 to 20 metres to the right, then 10 to 20 metres to the left. You can do it walking and gradually progressing to a jog. As your muscles start to warm up, you can build the intensity so that you’re trying to cover as much ground as possible with as few steps as possible.

Weave step – Step your right foot to the right, then step your left food behind your right foot. Keep repeating this for 10 to 20 metres to the right, then repeat the cycle to the left. Keep alternating between right and left. Like the side step/shuffle, you can start by walking, then ramp up the intensity to a jog, trying to move as quickly as possible.

Backward jogging – Start with 50-metre segments.

Butt kicks – While standing tall, walk forward with an exaggerated backswing so that your heels come up to your glutes. When this is easy, try it while jogging. Do 10 reps on each side. Too easy? Alternate butt kicks with high knees. Do five butt kicks, then do five high knee steps. The butt kicks stretch the quads and the high knees stretch the glutes.

Hacky-sack – Lift up your left leg, bending your knee so it points out. Tap the inside of your left foot with your right hand without bending forward. Repeat 10 times on each side. This stimulates the balance you’re going to need when you start running.

Toy soldier ­Keeping your back and knees straight, walk forward, lifting your legs straight out in front and flexing your toes. Advance this by adding a skipping motion. Do 10 reps on each side.

“If you can run comfortably, and without injury, there is no need to stretch,” says William O. Roberts, professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School.


(Source: RunnersWorld.com’s “Ask the Sports Doc” columnist)