An appropriate warm up before running can be the key to both athletic performances as well as injury prevention. There are many studies out there that either is for or against static stretching as a performance enhancer or performance obstruction. I tend to believe that static stretching if done at all should be left to the recovery but most likely mobility side of this equation.
The Basics of The Warm Up Before Running
During a warm-up it is essential to “warm up” literally raise the bodies core temperature in order to help increase tissue suppleness, better muscle contraction, relaxation, nerve sensitivity, blood vessel dilation to improve blood flow, and an increase in a range of motion which in turn helps the athlete get into better positions.
There are many forms of warm up including low impact, sport specific and dynamic.
Low impact: This is the most common way to warm up before running. Merely pick a slow, low impact cardio movement such as light jogging, biking, or walking to get the body temperature to rise. Usually done for 5-15 minutes.
Dynamic Warm up Before Running: A dynamic warm up before running is doing movements unloaded that move the body through full body warm ups but have a specific body part of importance. (Walking toe touches, walking knee to chest, and butt kicks are all good examples of dynamic warm up before running exercises.) This type of warm up before running is good before completing a highly motive exercise regimen such as strongman events.
Sports Specific: This is where you complete movements that directly relate to your sport. Just like a powerlifter will start with the bar and add weight slowly. (Doing the squat bench and deadlift.) Every sport will vary. It is the coach’s job to construct a proper sport specific warm up.
This warm up before running should be done before every workout. When it comes to the lifting part of the warm up always, start with the bar and make 40-60lbs jumps until the working weight is met.
Spend 5-10 minutes finding tight spots in the areas being worked that day and smash them with your favorite mobility tool.
Choose any low impact movements (bike, jog, walk, treadmill, etc.) and do it for 10-15 minutes just enough to get the body warm.
20yrd sprint x2
High knee to sprint x 2
Butt kicks to sprint x 2
Sidestep 10 yards and which side x2
Sports Specific :
- 8-10 reps
- 5-8 reps
- 3-5 reps
- 1-3 reps
- One rep
- Working weight
It is essential to get to know your athlete as well as it is vital for your athletes to identify themselves. They need to know when they need a longer warm up or need to smash a particular part longer or need a more extended sport specific warm up. It is difficult for the coach to assess this and the athlete needs to be completely honest with themselves as well as their coach. Spend as much time as necessary to prevent injury as well as maximize athletic performance to get the most out of your athletes in the gym and on the field!
Warm Up Before Running and Mobility
Being able to get into positions that are vital to the particular sport the athlete is competing in is of utmost importance. If there is a restriction, then performance is only going to drop. It is essential to mobilize just into the positions needed and not much further than that for a good reason.
Being over mobilized will have an adverse effect on performance because it will be difficult to hit the end range where power output is most optimal (you will slip right past it) For example if you are looking to perform a bench press but have too much mobility in the chest and anterior deltoid it will be hard to have a solid base to press from. Or another example performing powerlifting squat if you are too loose at the bottom it is possible to go too deep and miss the “power” zone.
Now we can go on and on about how not to mobilize but let’s get into why it’s good to mobilize your tissues.
Now a lot of people believe the word mobility is directly related to the word and sensation of pain. Well here’s why. A lot of the tools used to help an athlete become mobile cause a lot of pain in over tonic muscles from years of constant contraction without any relaxation. But let’s start off by looking at mobility as a time for meditation.
Stretching is not what we want to do here we want to find positions that we are restricted in and mobilize in that position. It is a simple concept. If you can’t squat deep than do mobility in the areas responsible for squatting. Smash the areas of the hips and legs. Same is true for any other position desired.
Now there is an unlimited number of resources on the internet, as well as books devoted to mobility and certain “stretches” needed to aid in achieving particular positions. I recommend sourcing these products and use them to yours and your athlete’s advantage.
Key tools for mobility include but are not limited to lacrosse balls, foam rollers, strength bands, and 3/4in PVC pipe.
Lacrosse balls are great to use to hit precise areas of stiffness as well as tightness. Foam rollers are great for global massage and shearing forces on muscles. Strength bands are used to help distract joints and allow for greater mobility. The PVC pipe acts as a barbell and can be used to get into positions without an actual bar. It also helps with smashing and mobilizing the shoulders.
Now programming mobility can and is extremely difficult because everyone is different. One athlete is tight in certain places where another is tight somewhere else. It is important to be self-sufficient with mobility and needs to be done shortly before exercise but done intensely after training as well as on “rest” days. Spending 10-20 minutes a day is more than sufficient.
Gains in performance are not accomplished in the gym or on the field. They are obtained by rest, and how well the athlete can recover. Recovery spans multiple of aspects of training, including nutrition, warm up/cool down, mobility, sleep, and outside therapies.
The faster the athlete can recover from a stressful training session, then the faster that same athlete can hit another training session. The more training sessions that are done at full recovery will result in a dramatic increase in athletic performance. However on the other side if the athlete doesn’t have a reliable recovery protocol in place and hits sessions not fully recovered then performance will slowly deteriorate
I use this analogy; when athletes train they are digging a hole. When the athlete is done, we want to fill the hole back up plus add a little. Then the athlete trains again once the hole is overfilled we repeat the process. But if the hole isn’t even filled back up to the original height and the hole is dug again, then it becomes even deeper and harder to overfill it. Eventually, the athlete will be left at the bottom of the hole with no way of getting out.
Now let’s assume we have an athlete following their nutrition plan and getting at least 8 hours a night of quality sleep. Now you ask if this is enough. Well maybe for a beginning athlete but if we want to maximize the recovery process there are a few things we can do to achieve this.
Going for a light walk can be a great way to help improve recovery. It helps flush the damage muscles with fresh oxygen filled blood cells and got rid of any built-up lactic acid. Going for a 10-minute walk in the morning can add to an athlete’s recovery.
Yes, Mobility is a great way to help recovery as well. A substantial training session can cause muscles to become ropy and stiff so smashing them mobilizing them can help bring them back to optimal working order!
Deep tissue massage can be an excellent tool for recovery. Having a professional deal with problems areas can clear up those problem areas. This, however, can end up becoming a costly venture.
Being in alignment can help with better movement patterns. It can also help with injury prevention as well as help increase performance due to proper spinal alignment. These to cost money so keep that in mind. Chiropractors can also provide some other forms of therapy such as acupuncture, Active release, electrostimulation therapy, and many others. So this may be the best way to go.
Asian influenced medicine has a place in recovery methods. Not everyone agrees with their validity of them. I do not know much about them, but I say if you think it’s working chances are it is working.
Warm Up Before Running Conclusion
Skipping warm up and missing mobility sessions are slowly becoming the norm in training. Everyone is now in too much of a rush to warm up before running. This is only going to lead to performance loss as well as increase the possibility of injury. Warm up, mobility and recovery are the three most important aspects of any athletes program. We want our athletes to continue to improve, and these three aspects of training are how they will do it. Especially recovery.
Recovering to the best of the athlete’s ability is essential. Do as much as possible within the means; spending hundreds of dollars is not necessary even though it can help facilitate recovery. Spend 20-25 minutes a day doing something for improvement. There is no formula here. Just be mindful of your recovery and spend time doing so!
What If You Get Hurt Warming Up?
Sometimes you can ice all you want, but a muscle is in pain because another area is not working or because it is protecting you. With the hips, for example, your back may be hurting because your psoas is doing too much work and it is also tight. The psoas may be doing too much work because your other hip flexors are not activating correctly. The chain reaction could keep going if you don’t have recovery properly from your warm up before running.
Sometimes you need the help of a sports medicine provider. Sports medicine providers are used to working with athletes that need to get results quickly, to get back on the field. If you are not an athlete, I am sure that you still want quick results.
There are many different options you can go with when looking for a provider. You could get a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist or many other options. The key is finding someone you trust and that you are excited to work with.
How to Find The Best Healthcare Providers For an Injury From a Warm Up Before Running
Kho Health is the best place to find the health care providers you need for any injuries. It does not matter where you are hurting; a Kho Health provider will be able to get you healthy again. Kho allows you to find the best local providers and compare them quickly using the Kho Number.
If you have no idea what you need, but you know you need something, Kho Health is an injury guide, and you will get helped through the process. We make it easier for you to find the information and the person you are looking for.
Skills to Look for in a Healthcare Provider a Warm Up Before Running Injury:
- Active Release Technique
- Graston Technique
- Fascial Stretch Therapy
- Corrective exercises
- Dry Needling
- Sports Background
- Functional Movement Screen
- And more