Warm up pre-run? Do I have to?
There is plenty of evidence to show an effective warmup prior to your run can reduce your risk of injury along with a producing a more efficient and enjoyable run vs starting your run cold…can’t argue with that!
But what should you do you ask?
Recent research has suggested that static stretches may be detrimental to performance. A study by Simic et al 2012 recommended avoiding using static stretching as the only activity during a warm-up.
Other studies have also shown that static stretching can actually lead to a reduction in muscle strength and performance - this however was not found with dynamic stretching. Incorporating dynamic stretches into a pre run routine was shown to improve power, jump and running performance.
Perfect….now how do we apply this?
An ideal plan would be to begin with some foam rolling at home to loosen up and reduce any tension you may be carrying in the legs or back. Once outside kick off with sub max aerobic exercise (eg. Bridges, calf raises, deep squats), following this with dynamic stretching (eg. high knees, bum kicks, hip openers, walking lunges, sideways lunges, rotational lunges, single leg dead lift walking, sideways walking squats, grapevines (2 x 20m of each should do), power bounds, skips, leg swings at a wall- forwards, backwards, lateral). Finally focus on the first km of your run as a slow progressive warmup to ensure adequate loading and warming up of your tissues.
For bonus points…
Once your warm and into your run, strive for a cadence of 180 (that’s steps per minute). Research by Quinn et all has shown that increasing step frequency to 180 using a metronome (there are plenty of apps or Spotify playlists to help keep you on the beat) may improve performance is a simple and effective way to improve running economy, tissue loading and hence prevention of injury….and isn’t that the aim of the game?
It’s not always easy to change your routine or your running style with the flick of a switch and sometimes too much change too soon can be problematic. Have a chat with our Physio team and we can guide you as to the best approach for you!