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  • Writer's pictureKristi Campanella

How Do You Warm-Up?

What do you do for a warm up prior to a run or a race? Do you warm up before a long run?

People are always asking me what they should do for a warm-up prior to their run. I know that many people do not feel that you need to warm up but I can tell you that as I approach 50 I can tell that I do better with a warm-up especially before a tempo or interval run, and definitely before a race!! If I want to be ready to run at race pace when the gun goes off I better warm-up!!

I am guilty (almost every time) of not warming up at all before a long run but I don't know that I see anything really wrong with this. I usually use my first few miles to warm-up and run at an easier pace then after about 3 miles (yes, that is about how long it takes me to feel good and warm and have my breathing regulated!) I might pause and do some light dynamic stretching and continue with the run.

But, what about before your interval workouts? Do you just run easy first then get right into your intervals? Do you do a warm up then run for 10-15 minutes then do intervals?

I have done both. These days I like to practice doing at least a 5 minute warm-up prior to an interval, tempo, fartlek, or any other run that is not a long run.

Almost every warm-up routine I find lately involves me getting on the ground and many involve the Scorpion. I am not saying that I am not a little bit of a fan of the Scorpion but I do not recommend it for many people, especially my online clients because it is one of those exercises that people can definitely get wrong and it could cause some back pain if they do. I don't like to take chances like that with clients. I have been a PT for so long and it comes with the territory that I see SO many people perform exercises incorrectly.

Here is a YouTube video demonstrating the Scorpion.

It is not only an exercise that could be performed incorrectly, it is also one that involves me getting on the ground. Now, maybe I am just a big wuss about the ground but I just don't like trying to find a spot free of mud, snow, or animal waste that I want to put my body on to warm up for a sport that I will be doing upright rather than down on the ground. (At least I hope I will not be on the ground! I have fallen a few times in the past year!)

Here is a warm-up routine from RunnersWorld.

I recently read it in their online version of the magazine. (Notice the Scorpion!)

Why I don't want to lie on the ground for my warm-up:

I have multiple, and what I think are good reasons for not wanting to get down on the ground prior to my run.

  1. I frequently drive to where I am going to run and don't want to get down in the dirt, snow, ice, gravel

  2. It has been below zero for the temperature several days this winter-no thank you!! That is not going to warm me up!!

  3. Snakes!! I have personally encountered them in the past during some of my runs.

  4. Goat-heads (if you live in Colorado then you definitely know what these are, if not, they are big, nasty stickers!)

I need a good warm up that does not involve me getting on the ground. I have been doing some version of these things lately for a warm-up:

1. Lunges-multiple directions

2. Jumping jacks

3. High knees and butt kicks

4. Monster Kicks

5. Walking, dynamic hip flexor stretches and figure 4's ( (

6. Lunge with rotation

7. Strides (Strides—short bursts of quick running that are typically completed in the middle or at the end of a run, or as part of a warm-up to a speed workout—differ in definition when compared to the term stride to describe a runner's unique biomechanics.) Definition from:

What do you typically do for a warm-up? Do you have a routine you really like? If so, please share it with us! I am working on one that I really like in addition to what I put above.

Happy Running!



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