An essential part of a balanced training session, the warm up should be extremely thorough.
Why warm up?
Knowing how to warm up means getting yourself in peak physical and mental condition for doing intensive exercise at a faster pace than jogging.
In terms of physiology, all of your body's functions should be gradually brought into play: the muscular, circulatory and nervous
In terms of psychology, the runner should take their exercise calmly, with determination and concentration. The warm up is the perfect time to go over the upcoming training session programme: running time, recovery time, effort management.
How to warm up
- Start by running for 20 to 25 minutes at a basic rate of endurance. The pace should be gentle and gradually increased. You should be able to hold a conversation. Your heart rate should be between 65 and 75% of your maximum rate (HRmax).
- Also do some active stretching. The main muscle groups should be stretched one by one (calves, hams, quads, back muscles, shoulders, neck...).
Carry out a muscle movement for each stage of stretching (short, no longer than 6 to 8 seconds) to get yourself ready :
. 10 jumps on the spot with your toes pointed up after calf stretches
. 10 heel kicks (touching your bum) after quad stretches
. 10 high knees after stretching your hams and glutes
. 10 star jumps after stretching your abs
. 10 windmills after arm/ shoulder stretches
- The warm up should finish with three shuttle runs of about 100 metres, gradually increasing the speed (return at a jog).The last shuttle should be run at the same speed as the upcoming exercise.
Kalenji's six pointers
- Never rush your warm up before a race or an intensive session. There is a real risk of muscle and tendon damage as a result of overly intense or poorly planned exercise. The feeling of discomfort during exercise will also be increased by an overly sharp increase in heart rate.
- In cold weather, gently extend the duration of jogging (up to 40 minutes) to gradually bring your body up to the right temperature. Wear warm clothes that allow you to conserve heat and don't take off your hat until the very last minute.
- Don't remain stationary for too long between the different stages of your warm up. A lack of activity during the transitions between jogging, stretching and shuttles ruins the advantage of gradually increasing your body temperature.
- Think about hydration in cold weather as well as in warm weather to compensate for water loss when warming up. Without necessarily absorbing a large amount of liquid: drink little but often!
- Start the session gradually, and work up to a faster pace. Fresh muscles at the start can lead to you setting too fast a pace. Whether it's for warming up or for starting intesive exercise, progressiveness is the key word!
- It's pointless warming up before jogging if the entire session will be at a basic endurance level. The start should be gentle. The body will naturally and gently increase its pace while remaining in its comfort zone.
Enjoy your run!