Warming Up to the Run

running-legsDo you consider jogging 10 – 30 yards at a 3/4 pace  an adequate warm-up for a 20-min+ run?

It’s not. Why? Because the lower body needs a gentler introduction to the repetitive, high-impact/sheer force combination that’s characteristic of running. That’s especially important if you are older, a bit heavier than you’re ideal body composition and/or put in 10 or more miles per week.

Sheer force is the forward-momentum created load on the knee and shin (and to a lesser degree, on the ankle) that running produces. Coupled with the impact running also incorporates, it is the root cause of many common running injuries.

A big part of the problem is that most bodies need a little more comprehensive preparation for that set of loads including increased heart rate, body core temperature and well-lubricated joints, before being optimally receptive to the forces running creates.

Here’s an easy, 5-minute solution that should precede your run:

1. Two-Man Saw – Stand with your arms extended in front of your body, pull your forearms back keeping them horizontal until the elbows are deeply flexed behind the shoulder blades, simultaneously pulling your left knee above your belt line. Lower the knee as you’re extending your arms and repeat with the right leg. Do 25 reps on each side.

2. Drop Walk – Crouch down and walk your hands forward to a plank position. Reverse the movement and sweep your hands up above your head as you return to a standing position, creating as large an arc with your fingertips as possible. Repeat for 10 reps.

3. “Safe” – Again, start standing with your arms extended in front of you. Then step right and drop into a 1/2 depth squat while sweeping your arms laterally, parallel to your collarbone (like a baseball umpire calls a runner “safe” at base). 20 reps on each side.

4. Repeat 1-3.

Try this warm-up sequence prior to your run and you’ll have a great run with less (or no) lower body soreness afterward!

Learn more about how to get and stay in great shape? Contact Dan at Tri Valley Trainer

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