10 Warm Up Stretches to Know Before You Run
Exercise is important. Warming your body up with stretches is even more important. When you choose to run, you are putting extreme wear into your knees and back. Take the time to stretch before hand, even if you only do one of these stretches, and you’ll be thanking me later.
1. Tricep Stretch
Your arms need to warm up, too! You may begin this stretch by standing tall or sitting in a chair. Reach your right hand to the middle of your shoulder blades, just below your neck. Then, with your left hand, pull your elbow towards the left. Make sure your arms are not touching your face. Feel the stretch? Good, hold for 10 seconds before switching sides.
2. Jumping Jacks
Let’s get that body moving. Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides. Next, in a “jumping” motion, swing your arms up over your head while your legs slide out to your sides. Think TSA, since it’s the same pose you hold while walking through the security line at the airport. Repeat the jumping together and apart for 30 seconds.
3. Mountain Climbers
All about those core values? Begin your mountain climbers by holding in a plank position. Then, bring your right knee to your chest and as you return the same knee, start “climbing” by bringing your left knee forward. Repeat this process for 30 seconds.
4. Toe Touches
Ever hear the phrase “I pulled a hammy”? Yeah, don’t be that guy. Start your routine with some toe touches. Stand tall and keep your knees straight. Bend forward, over your knees, and reach for your toes. If you cannot reach your toes, do not strain yourself. The more you do this exercise, the more reach you will have. When touching your toes, or shins, hold for 20 seconds.
5. Quad Stretch
While standing, lift your right foot to the back of your right thigh. Grab your right foot with your right hand. As you pull your foot up, push the top of your foot towards the ground, making sure to keep it parallel to the floor. You will feel the stretch in your right quad. Hold for 10 seconds before switching sides.
6. Leg Swings
When working on leg swings, make sure you are standing tall. Start with your legs together before you bring your right leg forward and backward in a “swing” motion. You can increase the range of motion as you go. Next, you can also complete side leg swings. Instead of back and forth, you swing from side to side. Repeat both stretches 10 times for each leg.
7. High Knees
High knees is basically running in place. The only difference from regular running is bring your knees as high as you can. Really gives you the warm up you need for your long distance run. Do this stretch for 30 seconds.
8. Calf Stretch
This stretch definitely looks funny, but it really does the job you need it to do. When I was in grade school, a girl did this stretch constantly. So, to me, this stretch is called “The Kelsey” but you can call it a calf stretch. Begin by holding yourself steady on a wall, keep your left leg straight while you bring your right foot to the wall and at a 45 degree angle and lean forward. Hold for 10 seconds before switching feet.
9. Walking Lunge
Before the main event, lunges are your friend. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right foot, creating a 90 degree angle with your knee. Raise yourself back up to a standing position. Then, step with your left foot. Repeat this process for 5 lunges for each leg.
10. Slow Running
The very first thing you should do right before breaking off into a sprint is to jog. The ultimate warm up is doing the main exercise much slower until your body tells you it’s ready. Lightly jog for about 5 minutes before you start your main run.