Why it’s Important to Warm Up Before Running.

Colin and Anne talk about why it’s important to warm up before setting off on a run and suggest some ways to do this.

Many runners just set off out of the door without even thinking about warming up but it is an important prepartion for running. Warming up will help your body get ready for the level of exercise that you want it to do. It will also reduce your chance of injury.

What happens in your body when start running?

At rest your body pumps around 2 litres of blood to your muscles every minute. When you exercise this can increase to around 16 litres per minute. In order for this to happen, the heart pumps faster and the blood capillaries widen to carry more blood to the muscles. The extra blood warms up the muscles and helps make them more supple. Increasing your speed progressively, from walking to jogging to running, allows this process to happen gradually without putting undue stress on the body. If you set off without warming up, your heart will be working with a reduced blood supply. You will have to breathe hard to get enough oxygen. It will feel like hard work!

Moving through the three energy systems.

When you start running your body uses start-up energy to get you going. That’s the ten seconds of stored energy you use when you Sparkle. Then your body uses anaerobic energy until the blood supply to your muscles has increased enough for you to run aerobically. That is to be able to take in enough oxygen to keep your muscles working. It can take up to eight minutes for this process to be completed. It’s why Chatty runners often report that they are breathy at the start of their run. Warming up gradually will reduce this breathiness and make your Chatty run more comfortable from the outset.

You only need to warm up your body to the speed you are going to be running at. For example, raising your heart rate to a high level and getting out of breath isn’t necessary if you are going out for a Chatty run.

A typical warm up for a Chatty run.

Walk for five minutes gradually increasing the pace from easy to brisk. Then either run/walk or jog very slowly for a few more minutes until you feel ready to start running.

If you are worried about the warm up reducing your times on Strava, then delay starting your watch until you start your Chatty pace run.

A typical warm up for a race.

Walk for three to five minutes and then jog slowly for another twelve minutes. Do some dynamic stretches and a few Sparkles. Finally run at your race pace for thirty seconds before you step onto the start line. Warming up properly can make a big difference to your race time. You will run 25 to 30 seconds faster if you have warmed up correctly. That’s quite a difference!

Join our Facebook group for more information about warming up and share your own warm up approaches.

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  1. Pingback: Five Common Causes of Injury for Runners - Chatty Sparkly Runners

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