A proper warm-up goes a long ways

28297810_sWe have our time trial for Chandler Prep cross country tomorrow. One of my main goals for the time trial is not only to get a good judgement of where they are right now in their fitness, but also as a practice for a meet warm-up. From my experience, very few youth distance runners, except maybe the elite, get a proper warm-up.
What does a proper warm-up look like?
For us, it would look something like this:
Lunge Matrix
10-15 minute easy to moderate run
Leg swings
Dynamic drills for about 5-8 minutes
4 strides of 80-100 meters
A minute before the gun goes off, another stride if you are waiting around for more than a couple of minutes.
One of the main goals of a warm-up run/strides is to get your body going from rest to race pace.
Then stay loose and moving until the race starts. We want to finish our warm-ups about 5 minutes before the race starts. 2 minutes would be optimal, but in many cases it is hard to hit that timing.
After you are done, you need to stay moving, keep the blood flowing in those legs. If you have more than a couple of minutes of downtime, make sure you get in another stride or two before toeing the starting line.
I hear youth runners worried about getting tired before a race. The shorter the race, ie., under a half-marathon, the more warm-up you need. Your body has more than enough energy stored up for a 5k or 1600m race. You dont need to worry about burning through it.
Have you ever noticed when you are out on a run, sometimes the first 1/2 mile or the first mile you are breathing heavy, then by mile two you dont even notice it any longer? It happens to everyone. Your body is actually going to perform a lot better after a 10-15 min warmup, than it would if you had a two minute warm-up.
And finally, we avoid static stretching before a race. Stretching helps loosen up muscles, which is great if you are working on range of motion. But all the science now tells us that it effects our performance in a race. You want to keep that elasticity in the muscles to help you go faster. This is why the only time I ever recommend anyone do any static stretching is after a race, not before.




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