Dynamic Warm-up for a Run

Getting back into running has been fabulous (even if I haven’t yet gotten to the point where running feels remotely effortless yet). One important thing that a lot of people have questions about when it comes to running is: How do I warm-up for a run?

Most people (myself included) do not have unlimited time to exercise. Even those of us who are obsessed with getting our daily dose of exercise have to use our time wisely to do the right things at the right time for our bodies. With that, I know I am not the only one who has slacked on a warm-up routine before a run, though as a physical therapist, “not knowing what to do” is not an excuse I can hide behind and after you finish reading to the end of this post, it won’t be one you can use either.

What are the key elements of an effective running warm-up?

  1. Dynamic- that means you are activating your muscles and moving your body. Gone are the days when static stretches are recommended before working out. They have found that muscle performance diminishes and injury risk increases when you static stretch before a workout. After a workout, static stretching is a great way to loosen up your warm muscles.
  2. Starts increasing your heart rate- You want enough movement to start pumping blood through your muscles, which helps them get ready for the exertion of your workout and warms the muscles up enough to reduce injury.
  3. Increases the range of motion- The motions you do should take your muscles into lengthened positions (even while you are moving). This active lengthening of the muscles helps them get ready for the demands of your upcoming workout.

If you are like me and often stuck on a treadmill, the following video goes over a few simple exercises to help you warm-up in a small space. These same ones work great for an outside run as well, especially if you like to warmup in your garage before you head out into the chill of the morning!

As far as my own running journey is going, I am finishing up my walk/jog phase. I added a couple interim days to get my next phase to start at the beginning of next week. Here is what my next phase will look like:

Return to 5 days/week running 30+ miles/week
Advanced Running ProgressionDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Total Miles
Week 1443314
Week 2544518
Week 3655622
Week 46652726
Week 56376830

I am excited to start counting my runs in miles rather than minutes! If you are interested in more return to running plans or warm-up ideas, check out my ebook!

And… A little bonus video for you all…

This next video was made per a request for some exercises to improve knee pain.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

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