There are still too many people who don’t warm up correctly, OR AT ALL! Properly warming up gets the blood flowing in your muscles before you start running them. Warming up properly, increases your performance, and decreases your chance of injury. If you’ve ever pulled a hamstring, or other muscle before, you’ll understand when I say that a minor injury can put you out of commission for a week easily.
Try to wear sweats or something that will warm up your body and make it sweat. This will warm you up faster.
Ok. First off, jog 2 laps. Easy jogging at a slow-relaxed pace to get the blood running and to warmup your stiff cold muscles. The slow jogging keeps the muscles from working too hard. Once you finish the two laps. Do 20 jumping jacks. Then do some exaggerated skipping. This is basically skipping but you take bigger longer steps in between and swing your arms and legs alot more. Again, don’t use alot of force, you’re not reaching for the skies, just natural speed deliberate movements. Do some more jogging in place.
By now your body should be fully warmed up. NOW is the time to stretch, when your muscles are warmed up and can be much more efficiently stretched.
Legs/Back: Bend over and try to reach your toes. Spread your legs and reach for the middle and then reach for each foot one at a time. Your back, inner thighs, hamstring and even obliques should be stretching while you do all this.
Upper thighs: bend one knee bringing your foot up ot your buttocks and grab the ankle with one hand and hold it there. Repeat for the other leg.
Stomach and obliques: Interweave your fingers together and put your hands over your head pushing up towards the sky as far as you can. First go straight up, then lean over to each side and then towards the back. You should feel your abdomen and oblique muscles stretching.
Calf stretch: Standing with your feet together, take a step forward with one foot about 2 or 3 footsteps in front of you. Holding your arms straight and pointing down straight at the ground. Keep your heels on the ground while you bend your knees and try to lower your body towards the ground. You should feel the stretch in the upper calf of your rear foot. Alternate to stretch the other side. To stretch your lower calves, repeat the same thing but this time lift the heel of your rear foot and try to get your body even lower to the ground.
Neck: First lean you head to all the sides, SLOWLY. Then drop your head forward and swing it around your neck like a joystick. Now do this all slowly and gently!
Now stand flat and swing your arms around in forward circles. Then do backward circles. Do big circles at first, and then do it again but with small circles. Also hold your arms up straight out to the sides in the air and swing them in front of your crossing over your chest. All this arm swinging is supposed to be done with loose relaxed arms!
Breathing: while you’re doing all this stretching and movement to get your blood flowing: please breathe slow and breathe deep! Hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds at a time. Count fast if you want, but don’t rush this!
By the time you’re done with all this your muscles should be properly warmed up and you might even be a little sweaty, perfect! Now you can take off the sweats and start your workout or even your race!