Best Warm-up Exercises for Runners

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As a runner it’s easy to get up, put those running shoes on and burst out the front door ready to master that run. But going for a run without properly warming up your body could cause more damage then good. It’s essential to stress the importance of what a good stretch and warm-up really means for your daily run.

By just going off like a gun, running as fast as you can, you may think you are well on your way to a good workout but chances are, you are working towards an injury, one that could keep you from running for awhile. Read more for the best warm-up exercises for runners.

Best Warm-up Exercises for Runners

By running without a warm-up you risk tendon injuries, pulling a muscle or even joint and bone injuries. Not to mention if you start running full tilt off the bat you may not be able to sustain the momentum for very long.

By working up to your run you allow yourself to get into that running groove that you can sustain for the entire workout, otherwise you could burn out and have to cut your workout short and no one wants to do that. If running is new for you the last thing you want is to have to give up on your workout feeling discouraged because you probably won’t be too excited for the next one.

What a warm-up offers you is the chance to loosen up your muscles, literally making them warm and ready for what you are about to put them through. By loosening up your joints, bones and muscles you have less of a chance of injuring yourself.

Best-Warm-up-Exercises for Runners

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The key is to bring your heart rate up in a gradual manner, instead of having your heart beating through your chest in a matter of seconds. By increasing your heart rate gradually, you are able to run greater distances without becoming tired too fast. It’s the key to being able to finish workouts without being disappointed.

Below are some great ways to warm up before you get running.

Walk First
This one may be a little difficult for those of you that just want to get out there and get the workout over with. But if you just take five minutes prior to your run to just walk, it allows your body to get used to not being in a sedative state. By walking you are using range of motion which tells your muscles and joints that you are about to become active and to liven up a bit. The same range of motion mimics running so the body is essentially preparing itself for your run. By warming up in this way you are bringing the blood flow to your muscles causing your body to warm up for the run.

Jog in Stride
For those of you that don’t like to walk, jogging in stride would be a great way to get the body ready for the run. A great suggestion is to do six, one hundred meter strides. By doing these your body will be able to transition from jogging to running fairly quickly. Your muscles will flood with blood and it will engage those fast twitch fibres so that you are ready for running.

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How to Jog in Stride:

  • Take an easy jog for about two minutes
  • Start to accelerate during the 100 meters. Decelerate occasionally and go back up
  • After the first stride make sure to shake off your legs and walk around
  • Start on second stride and continue from there
  • Don’t worry about timing your strides, the distance isn’t important

Dynamic Stretching
It’s no big surprise that stretching is so beneficial before a run or any workout. Static stretching however isn’t normally recommended to do before run. Instead the most beneficial stretching you could do is dynamic stretching. This form of stretching is all about range of motion by using controlled leg movements. It will slowly increase your heart rate and properly loosen up your muscles. Your body temperature will increase, warming you up for the run and will allow you to have a more efficient workout.

A great routine of dynamic stretching such as this will get your muscles fired and ready for the run. If you are used to dynamic stretching always start off slowly until you have each move mastered. Once you have the movements under control then you can work faster.

Dynamic Stretch Routine:

Try skipping for a few minutes in place. You can change the range or height, as you feel more comfortable.

Side Shuffle
The shuffle is a simple movement of shuffling about 10 meters to the right and then shuffling back to the left. Until you are secure in the movement you can do it as a walk and then move into a jog. Your muscles will begin to warm up quickly with this movement and you will find that you can cover more ground if you increase the intensity.

Weave Step
This move may remind you a little of line dancing but it’s not a hard one to learn. Begin slowly with this move until you are confident of your technique so that you don’t fall on your face. Take your right foot and move it to the right, from there you step your left foot behind the right foot and continue to repeat the movement for about 10 metres. Then you repeat the movements but going to the left side. It’s very similar to the side shuffle and should be practiced as a walk before you increase the intensity.

Butt Kicks
You can do these standing in place or as a jog, you will of course get more range of motion by jogging. These are very simple and easy, you are basically allowing your heels to come up to your gluts and essentially kicking your own butt. Do ten on each side and move on.

These are all really good warm-ups and most if not all could be performed before your run to ensure that you are ready for your run.

What are your favourite warm-ups? Share your warm-up tips with us in the comments below.