The purpose of a warm up is to prepare the body and mind for the session ahead. The key factors to this are increasing: the heart rate, blood flow and body temperature. It is important that the warm up is progressive and dynamic. The most simple way to warm up is to start by walking, move into a jog gradually increasing pace then finish with some strides (faster paced running). Static stretching is NOT recommended as part of any warm up routine unless of course there has been a particular injury and a specific muscle/muscle group needs to be prepared. Although a warm up can include running drills , it can be better to focus on drills as a separate unit in a training session plan. Running drills can include the following exercises:
|Activity||Key coaching points||Purpose|
|Jog increasing pace to run||Relaxed arms & shoulders||Increase heart rate, blood flow|
|High knee||Tall posture, high hips||Increase quad mobility|
|High knee skips||As above bounding high||As above + flexibility|
|Butt Kicks||Heel up under buttock||Increase calf mobility|
|Side to side||Straight back, swinging arms||Increase flexibility|
|Lunges||Straight back, balance||Works hip flexors|
|Skipping for height||Bounding with tall posture||Increase flexibility|
|Fast feet||Small fast steps on balls of feet||Increase calf/ankle mobility|
|Strides or run on spot||Fast arms, relax shoulders||Ensure everything warm|
Allow a minimum of 10 minutes for a warm up, in advance of a specific training session, especially high intensity training then this can be extended to 15-20 minutes. The routine can and should be amended to support the specific training session being undertaken. Failure to perform a warm up prior to exercise may lead to injury. Excessive warm up may reduce the pace at which you perform in the specific training session.
In advance of a long training run using the first few miles running at slower pace is acceptable as a warm up.
Prior to race a below half marathon distance a warm up is advised and finishing with strides can be beneficial.