Back in the day, if I saw someone warming up by running before a race, I thought they were wasting energy and hurting their performance for the race they were about to run.
Funny how things have changed.
I have learned through experience that there is an incredible value in performing a good warm up before a race, but I’ve also learned that the definition of a good warm up changes from runner to runner and race to race.
Confused yet? I think I still understand what I’m trying to say, so please allow me to try and make sense of it all.
You Should Always Warm Up Before a Race
In my professional opinion, a good warm up is a must.
The confusion arises, however, when you are asked to define a good warm up.
You see, a good warm up will vary depending on the race that you are running. If you’re running a shorter race, from 1 mile to 5k, you need to give yourself enough to do a thorough warm up because the race is a pretty high intensity affair from start to finish.
However, if you’re running something longer, like a half or a full, you can probably get away with using your first mile or even two as your warm up before settling into your preferred pace.
But you can’t even rely entirely on that logic. If you’re trying to run the marathon hard, say by attempting a BQ, a slight warm up is probably a good idea.
Don’t Do This as Part of Your Warm Up Before a Race
However you ultimately decide to warm up before a race, and I talk about a variety of options in the audio segment of this tip, there is one thing you should never do before a race–static stretching.
And I see it happening all of the time.
Static stretching (holding your stretch for 20+ seconds) is a bad idea for one major reason, it weakens the contractile force of the muscles immediately after the stretching session. If you’re about to run a race, you want those muscles ready to contract and propel you forward, so weakening their ability to do so obviously isn’t going to help you in your race.
Save the static stretching for after the race, but keep things moving before the race to insure that your body is warmed up and ready to go!
To hear a little more detail and info about my warm up routine, just press play below!