5 Warm-Up Exercises Before a Run

Saturday, May 2 2020 12:56 PM
By Ellen Healy

There’s nothing quite as great as getting your heart pumping and muscles moving with a nice Spring run.

The key to a perfect run is stretching out properly beforehand. Don’t skip this important step – it will only lead to ineffectiveness and pulled muscles.

man in yellow tank top stretching before a race

Here are a few good pre-running warm-up exercises to get you started.


Pre-running Warm-up Exercises


1. Swing Legs Back and Forth

Start your stretching off slow and gradually get the blood moving with some slow leg swings. Move your right leg back and forth for 20 seconds, and then the left leg. Increase your leg’s range of movement the more swings you do. After completing forward and backward leg swings, switch to side-to-side.

2. Lunge and Flex Hipswoman lunging outside and stretching legs

Gently stretch your leg muscles further by moving into walking lunges. Bend your front leg until your knee is at a right angle, and then bend your back leg until it almost touches the ground. After about 30 seconds of alternating right and left legs, stretch your hips by extending the back leg all the way back so that you feel a stretch on the front of your thigh.

3. Stretch Side and Back

man side stretching before a big runStretching out your torso is just as important as stretching out your legs. Reduce the pain of side stitches by standing upright with hands in the air and slowly leaning from one side to another until you feel a slight tug. After reaching from side to side, cross your arms over your head and stretch your shoulder blades straight back.


4. Tippy Toes

on your tip toes

Don’t let your run get ruined by a Charlie horse. Stretch your calves by standing on the edge of a step and rising up on the balls of your feet. Gently come back down and let your feet dip below the stair level until you feel your calf muscle stretch. Repeat for about 30 seconds.

5. Jump and Run in Place

Lock your knees and jump in place for another 15-20 seconds to prepare your knees and shins for the upcoming pressure they will encounter. Then, switch to jogging in place. Be sure to get those knees in the air!


Your pre-run checklist is complete!

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