Why doing a warm-up before my running session?

Before starting exercising, it’s important to be prepared and to gradually make your body ready for the effort you are about to start.

Running is a full body training so it’s important to warm-up the different zones of your body in order to enjoy your journey.
A lot of people assume that a small exercise or a low intensity doesn’t require a good preparation, but it’s false actually. Regardless of your pace or distance, it’s important to take some time for a short warm-up.

1. Why should I do a warm-up?

To gain efficiency it is essential to prepare your body. By doing a warm up you’ll get your body ready for the session you are about to start. In addition to the physical benefits it offers, it’s also a good time to focus and get concentrated to start exercising in the best conditions. Physiologically speaking, it’s a way to gradually “switch on” your body’s functions: muscular, circulatory and nervous system. Start slowly with determination and focus and increase slowly the intensity as soon as you feel ready. The warm-up is the best time to go over the upcoming sessions such as your running time, your recovery and the management of your effort.

2. How to warm up efficiently?

Start running slowly as if you wanted to run a long distance. Choose a gentle pace and gradually increase it. The pace you are starting at should allow you to hold a conversation. Try to keep as well a heart rate between 65% and 75% of your maximum rate. In addition to to the run, do some active stretching covering the main muscle groups that will be active (calves, hams, quads, back muscles, shoulders, neck...).
Do not try to stretch for a long time but focus on doing gentle movements without too many interruptions.

Here are a few exercises you can implement:
- 10 jumps on the spot with your toes pointed up after calf stretches
- 10 heel kicks (touching your bum) after quad stretches
- 10 high knees after stretching your hams and glutes
- 10 star jumps after stretching your abs
- 10 windmills after arm/ shoulder stretches
- 3 short distance sprints in a row with a low-intensity run in between.

3. 6 advices for an effective warm up

- Take your time and do not rush this pre-exercise session. There is a risk of muscle and tendon damage if you are poorly training and you start too strong. Remember that you have to be physically and mentally ready to start the effort.
- In cold weather, choose a gentle pace and gradually get faster as your body need to get at the right temperature.
- Do not remain stationary for too long between your different stages and try to keep warm. Waiting too long between your jogging and stretching could ruin your efforts.
- Stay hydrated along your journey. As you are losing a lot of water, it is important to compensate for these losses by drinking regularly. Prioritize regular hydration rather than drinking a lot at a specific time.
- Start your session slowly and gradually increase your pace. Progressiveness is key to succeed :)
- It is pointless to try to break your own record during this time, warm up has to be seen as a way to be prepared to the main effort.

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