Recently I read a blog in which someone was describing their warm up routine, and it consisted of running. Just running. Their warm up for their workout, which was running, was also running. I know I’ve heard that some easy running is recommended along with dynamic movements just to get your muscles warmed up and your legs ready to run. Some people actually run over a mile as their warm up. This blows my mind a little.
I’ve been running for months but personally my ability level is still very basic. I mean, I know how to run and everything. Warming up to the idea of a warm up took some time though – I used to just start running right out of the gate. It only took a couple of minutes for my legs to feel like they knew what they were doing, so I didn’t think I needed any warming up. Or, I did some long stretches, which I have heard from different sources as being bad for you AND good for you before a run.
Since then, I’ve sort of figured out a warm up routine tailored specifically for me that makes me feel good. Jumping jacks, soldier kicks, lunges and other various hopping around activities seem to work for me. I occasionally jog in place or back and forth a little bit before stretching. Something I found that has been really important for me are long stretches for my legs, especially for my hamstrings, calves & feet. If I don’t do the stretches before running on a treadmill, my legs get really tight really fast. I do them even when I’m running outside, because it’s really good for my plantar fasciitis – I’ve had very little trouble since instituting daily, pre- & post-run stretches. So basically, lots of stretching for me. Related to stretching, it’s always sort of been a secret desire of mine to be a contortionist. Every stretch is a step closer to my goal.
One thing I have never done for a warm up is running – like, a serious run like those people running a mile or two before their actual run. I consider a mile a serious run, like… that mile is my workout. That’s it! That’s all I can muster. I need to preserve as much energy as possible for the actual run, right? I think I have a running limit. When I hit thirty minutes or about two miles, I’m kind of toast. I don’t have the strength or endurance to go much farther at this point. Worked my way up from only being able to run a quarter mile (barely). So thinking about running in addition to my regular run is kind of overwhelming. I took it to my running friends and was told that, yes, running is a good warmup, but if I’m not ready for that kind of thing, a short jog would do fine.
So I’m making a little “experiment” out of this. I’m going to try jogging for between three – five minutes before I start the timer on my watch for my actual runs for a couple of weeks and see how I feel. See if there’s any change for better or worse. Last night, I did a fartlek workout, and did about a two minute jog before I officially started my run. I kind of felt exhausted once I got to like a mile and a quarter. But that might also have been from the handful of doughnut holes I ate like, right before my run.
I think in the long run (ha, the long run… get it?) the kind of warm up you do is what works best for you. Some people don’t like or need stretches, and some people don’t want a warm up at all. I’m going to see if warming up with a job is my thing. It might not be right for me at my current ability level.