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Coaches Q&A: Warming up

Q: I know it is important to warm up, but I am concerned about it affecting my performance in the race. Should I not warm up and just start out running in order to have fresh legs and try and set personal bests.

Warming up is extremely important. It prepares our bodies to move and helps facilitate an environment in which we can perform at our best. Going out and trying to exercise or compete (especially if you are trying to hit a PR in a run) is never advisable.

If a true concern of yours is that the warm up will detract from your performance time then, not trying to be mean here, you probably shouldn’t be running the race anyway. You probably need to develop your work capacity and general health and fitness.

The goal of the warm up is to get the body warm. You need to raise your core temperature and properly warm up the joints and muscles that are going to be stressed in your event. Exercise physiology textbooks will tell us that we need approximately 10 minutes to warm up our body and prepare it for training or competition. For runners, this can start by simply standing in place and loosening up the joints (ankle circles, hip circles, shoulder circles, planks, bridges, lunges, etc.) and then taking brief warm up jog to help prepare the body for running.

The main thing is that the warm up should not be extremely stressful! This is not a time to get out there and see how fast you can run 100 meters or do anything silly like that. It should however, be adequate enough to raise your temperature and make you break a little bit of a sweat. After the warm up, you should feel primed and ready to go.

No go warm up and set some PRs!