Warm muscles are more efficient and less susceptible to injury – that is the conclusion of current studies on the subject of warming up. But what exactly does an effective warm-up for runners look like? We have compiled the most important information.
Why should you warm up before exercise?
In order to achieve full performance during sport, it is crucial to prepare the body for the exertion. A thorough warm-up before the actual workout can help to prepare the muscles, ligaments, joints and cardiovascular system for the stress ahead. Warming up accelerates blood flow and supplies the muscles with sufficient oxygen and nutrients.
The advantage of this is that the entire musculoskeletal system is more resilient after warming up and ligaments and tendons become more elastic. In addition, the coordination of nerves and muscles is improved and the reaction speed is increased. Mental performance can also benefit from a solid warm-up.
Warming up before exercise
First of all, not every training session requires the same amount of warming up. For steady endurance runs, it is sufficient to move around a little and warm up beforehand. But for fast running, such as interval training, a thorough warm-up is essential. Many runners often start insufficiently warmed up, which means that the body is not able to transport the required oxygen quickly enough through the blood to the working muscles. In the worst case, this can lead to injury and negatively affect your performance.
Warm-up before a competition
You should also plan enough time for your pre-race warm-up. You should not only prepare physically, but also mentally for the race. Therefore, plan at least 90 minutes before the start and take care of all practical things first. Only then should you warm up.
But how exactly does the warm-up for different race distances look like? Here are some recommendations for you:
- 5-kilometre race: 20-30 minutes of slow running, 10 minutes of stretching if necessary, 6-8 intervals of 80 metres.
- 10-kilometre race: 15-20 minutes of slow running, 10 minutes of stretching if necessary, 4-6 intervals of 80 metres.
- Half marathon: 10-15 minutes slow running, 5 minutes stretching if necessary, 3 intervals of 80 metres
- Marathon: 5-10 minutes of slow running (or the first 1-2 kilometres of the race), 3-5 minutes of stretching if necessary, no intervals.
Remember that the warm-up is an important part of the workout. It can make the difference between an optimal performance and an injury. So take the time to warm up and give your body the best chance of a successful workout or race.