Getting Ready to Run: The Warm-Up

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by VALERIE HUNT

Getting Ready to Run: The Warm-Up
The goal of a warm-up is to prepare the body for upcoming activity. This includes biomechanical, physiological and mental preparation. Rather than stretching pre-workout, we choose to do mobility exercises. In CrossFit Endurance we use mobility warm-up exercises from the MobilityWOD (which you probably already know by now).

Why Should You Warm-up?

Before a run, the goal is to gain mobility, which is a better ability to move your joints. In running, we really need the knees to stay bent, the ankles to be “floppy,” and the hips to be stable.
We need to warm up the muscles, ligaments and tendons and prepare the nervous and cardiovascular systems for the specific workout. The time you spend warming up is directly related to the duration of the activity: a minimum warm-up should last about 10 minutes, all the way up to 30 minutes for short events. This is true whether you are planning to do 100 m repeats, a 5K run, or anything in between.

Muscles can only contract and relax, so when you try to stretch them by pulling on them, you actually lose a bit of elasticity. As a runner, however, your goal is to retain as much muscle elasticity as possible. Think of a rubber band: if you keep pulling on it, over time it loses shape and ability to go retract back to original form. This happens to my hair ties all the time! The same is true of your muscles.

Think of your muscles as rubber bands

Simple Running Warm-up Routine

Before a run, the goal is to gain mobility, which is a better ability to move your joints. In running, we really need the knees to stay bent, the ankles to be “floppy,” and the hips to be stable. How do we achieve this? These are some Pose-specific mobility exercises from Dr. Romanov, creator of the PoseMethod. In the series of videos below, we will move from warming up the bottom of the feet all the way upstream to the hips, and lastly warm up the shoulder and wrists.

1. Rolling Out the Foot

We are now using Yoga Tune Up therapy balls, created by yoga instructor Jill Miller, into our warm-up routine. We roll the bottom of the foot pre-runs and use the ball for hip and shoulder opening as well. In our CrossFit Endurance seminars, we teach our athletes how to do a complete session. Once you have warmed up the bottom of the foot, you will be amazed at how loose the rest of your body will feel — especially those tight hamstrings. Regardless of whether you think of yourself as a runner or a CrossFitter first, everyone benefits from unglued hamstrings.

2. Ankle Warm-ups

Part 1

Do about 10 reps in each direction per foot of “openings” — this will increase the mobility and flexibility in your joints. To warm up the Achilles heel area, cross your feet in opposite parallel directions (like an overlapping plie position) and bend at the knees.

Part 2

To get at your shins, reach back with one leg and sit on your heel without letting your shin actually touch the ground. Following this, get on the floor and alternate internally rotating your legs so your knees take turns touching the ground. If that is comfortable, then add in hip rotations — in both directions — while performing the knee touches as well.

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