Ask the average runner how they warm up (and I do because, you know, its my job) and you hear all the right things: foam rolling before leaving the house, followed by a thorough dynamic warm up before a run.
This is all well and good until I hit lake Hollingsworth on Saturday morning for a run myself and pull up next to said running statically stretching their hamstrings while smoking a fat cigar.
Flabbergasted, I ask why they would do such a thing? And their reply is always "because it is satisfying and its the way I've always done it"
So I get it, old habits die hard and this article will probably not convince you to stop stretching or smoking (just please anything but Parodis), but what it will do is present you with the most up to date information possible on warming up properly and preparing your body to run.
Why Warm up at all?
We have all heard the benefits of warming up properly and what we SHOULD do to properly prepare for a run. But then we have reality, you just want to run versus spending 20 minutes on stretching, mobility, etc.
I totally get it and I completely agree. The reason I focus at lot on mobility is not because I love mobility, but because I love performing and dominating competition. This stuff helps me to sharpen the sword and train more often without being excessively sore. It also gets me in to the MINDSET to compete.
When I am on the soccer field doing my dynamic warm up, I watch other people sitting down and stretching their hamstrings, casually talking to other people and/or juggling a soccer ball.
In the meantime, I am preparing for battle by imagining how I will out run, out jump and juke past said competition. I may not be the most skilled player out there, but I will be the most prepared and Visualisation training is something used at the highest levels of sports to sharpen focus before game time. i
Here is an awesome article on a few routines I like to use for myself.
Seven minutes in Heaven:
Remember the old game where two people would go in to a closet and discuss warming up? One thing I think we all agreed upon is that warming up should take no longer than seven minutes.
My goal for you is to literally set a clock for seven minutes and FOCUS on it. The FOCUS part is important because our goal is to optimize your mind as well as your body for the run ahead.
So we are throwing out an excess of drills and breaking them down to the bear essentials: 1. Retro-walking (to remind the body to weight shift from side to side) 2. A-run (To teach frontside mechanics and running form) 3. B-run (To teach backside mechanics and running form) 4. A- skips (To put everything together)
Pick a distance of 20 yards apart and perform these drills slowly at first and then building up to a more realistic running pace. At the same time, clear your mind and imagine yourself busting thru PRs and dominating the run.
Thus concludes my epic (in my own mind) series on preparation for running.
Achieving a result in any sport or activity can be complex and the tendency is often to put our head down and grind. But more is not necessarily better and, in the case of running, often time worse. Taking time to prepare properly both mentally and physically will not only given you an edge on the competition, but also a better chance of staying injury free.
I truly hope this has given you some ways to do just that. Now go out, hit the road and steer clear of those Parodis.
Until next time,