Congratulations on entering the Newark Half Marathon. For some, the race serves as a perfect build up event to an Autumn marathon. For others Newark will be a key target event in its own right. However the race fits into your plans, there are certain fundamentals in training which are important to get right from the outset, and rather than talk about which sessions you should do, I would like to take a step back from this and go through the warm up process.
Most runners will have been there, where you start a race or hard training session and felt lethargic or sluggish? Whilst there could be several reasons for this happening, one likely possibility is that you were not warmed up properly. Whilst there are some variables that we cannot control, there are plenty of things that we can take ownership of. A comprehensive warm up should be part of ALL RUNNERS routine, not just the elites. By following the three steps listed below, you should find yourself feeling ready and chomping at the bit to get going.
STEP 1: 10 – 20 minutes progressive running
The aim of a 10 – 20 minute progressive jog is to gradually get the heart rate up and ease the mind and body through the gears from a sedentary state to being ready to push when the race or session starts. The duration of this run can vary depending on experience, conditions, and race or run distance, and over time you will gradually get comfortable with a personal preference. If you have had a drive, the running part of the warm up can also really help get the journey out of the legs.
STEP 2: - Dynamic flexibility drills
The next step is to activate the muscles and joints that will be put to the test when the race or run starts. This can be achieved through a variety of movement drills. These should be carried out over a distance of 10 metres and some examples include:
• Toe walks (walking as tall as you can slowly on your toes)
• Heel walks (walking entirely on your heels)
• Fast ankles (short fast movement of your feet)
• Leg swings (both forwards / backwards, and also sideways)
• High Knee cycles (both walking and running)
• Skips (Both high aggressive style skips, and also short fast skips)
STEP 3: Strides
Run done ✓
Dynamic flexibility movements done ✓
The final part of the warm up is ‘strides’. This is where we really get the body ready to RUN FAST. Strides are short fast runs done over a distance between 80-100 metres. These will likely be well above race or session pace, but only for a short distance. 3-4 strides should be enough, with each one being a few metres further and a few paces faster than the previous one. From a mental preparation perspective, with strides being the final point of the warm up we know that once these are done then it is game face time!
There you have it, a step-by-step warm up that can be used by everyone from complete beginners to the very best runners in the world. Also worth remembering is this: whilst running is a hobby for most, it is still something that we spend significant time, effort, and finances on. Why sell ourselves short with performances that could have been improved simply by arriving 20 minutes earlier and getting a proper warm-up done?
If you have any other questions or would like video demonstrations of the drills then please do get in touch
F: Move Better Run Better