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Warming Up For A Run

I was down at the Phoenix 10K this past weekend doing free stretching/sports massage for the runners. I got there very early to do some pre-event sports massage for some of the runners that I know. Basically the idea is to get the muscles warm, get the blood flowing and get the joints moving. This was especially important because it was kind of chilly that morning (it does get chilly in Phoenix!). Usually after about 10min. of work, I would have them get up and go do the rest of their warm ups (their “running stuff”).

I will say, I can’t believe the amount of people I saw out there still sitting around and static stretching everything (especially since it was cold). The whole idea of the warm up is to WARM UP. You need to increase circulation and do something that challenges the body to “wake up”, not relax (as static stretching does).

Warm ups should start with slower, more controlled movements and then move towards more dynamic movements which get the body ready for competition.

A warm up prior to a run may look something like this:

Ankle circles
Hip circles
Body weight squats
Forward lunges
Side lunges
Hand walkouts
Jumping jacks
Leg swings – forward and backward
Leg sings – side to side
Stride outs (50-60m of about 6-10 reps each building in intensity and focusing on perfect technique)

After the warm up, your body should feel nice and loose and your muscles should feel warm. You should then fuel up and be ready to go race!

Once the race is completed, then you should seek out some stretching and post even massage work to help the tissue recover from the work you just ask it to do.

Unfortunately, just about every person I worked on had some sort of problem! Back pain, knee pain, “sciatica”, and the list goes on and on. Very few people were actually healthy (in terms of tissue/joint health, not cardiovascular health, which obviously most were fine in that department). The other amazing thing about this is that most of these people just assumed that what they were experiencing was something that is going to happen every time they run and that they would just “live with it” if they wanted to continue running.

Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me. I was doing a lot of hands on work and a lot of education work: showing people what to stretch and how to stretch it and showing people how to use the foam roller and which muscles to use it on.

Self-care is critical in any sport. You need to make sure that the tissue is healthy so that it can do what you want it to do. Seek out professionals in the field that can help you educate you on this.

A new thing I am doing for runners is track work. I will come out to the track with you and we will do some technique work, some training and movement based work, and flexibility/mobility work to enhance the way that you perform. I’ll teach you exercises, we will talk about your overall program, and I will teach you some things you can do for soft tissue care and flexibility.

If you are interested, just shoot me an email!