WARM-UP TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE YOUR RUN PERFORMANCE
Running injuries are commonly caused by muscle inflammation and muscle contraction. This is why a good warm-up is so important to preparing your body before a run. Learning how to do proper pre-run stretches is strongly advised as it can help prevent injuries as well as maintain your body in the condition where you can enjoy running for longer time.
Why Should We Warm up Before a Run?
According to an article from American Heart Association (https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/warm-up-cool-down), a good warm-up helps prepare your muscles for running by dilating your blood vessels and ensuring adequate muscle oxygenation i.e. your muscles are well supplied with oxygen.
Increasing the amount of oxygen to your muscles not only boosts up your muscle performance, but also reduces the cause of muscle cramping and stiffness as exercise cramps are normally caused by inadequate muscle oxygenation, especially in cardio workouts. When your body is unable to deliver oxygen to your muscles fast enough, your working muscles go from using aerobic metabolism (which requires oxygen) to anaerobic metabolism (which does not use oxygen). Then, your muscles start to turn glucose into lactic acid which results in muscle contraction and pain.
Apart from increasing the blood flow to your muscles, warm-up before a run also raises muscle temperature which results in muscle flexibility and more efficient run performance. We often see runners apply and rub boxing liniment or “Nammanmuay” containing Methyl Salicylate for their pre-run warm-up. Methyl Salicylate provides muscles with more heat which helps athletes or runners run more efficiently. The heat from Nammanmuay is beneficial in increasing the temperature and flexibility of your muscles to be ready for exercises. Moreover, performing warm-ups also increases tendon flexibility and reduces the risk of injury. A warm-up is also a great way to gently raise your heart rate and adjust your breathing so that you can run continuously without getting tired and running out of breath easily.
3-Step Method of Pre-run Warm-up
According to Jennifer Van Allen, an author from Runner’s World, here is the three-step method to warm up wisely.
1. Do a Brisk Walk
Walk gently for 3 to 5 minutes. Walking stimulates the blood flow to adjust your muscles, bones, and joints to warm you up before a run. Coach Janet Hamilton from Running Strong explained that brisk walking before running will send your brains the message that it’s time to go for a run. Walking not only increases your muscle temperature, but also increases oxygen levels before exercise.
2. Add Strides
Stride 100 meters or about 2 minutes. After each stride, you should massage your legs gently. This helps stimulate the blood flow to your muscles, raise muscle temperature, and increase muscle flexibility, especially in Hamstring muscle, which is important and used a lot in running. Tips: Do not overstride – extend your foot and leg far out in front of your knee. Overstriding is a common cause of injury.
3. Do dynamic
Stretches Dynamic stretches include Knee Hugger, High Knees, etc. These stretches do not only increase body temperature and blood flow, they also enhance muscle flexibility to help you run more efficiently.
A warm-up is mainly focused on preparing your muscles, tendons, and joints, as well as breathing system, blood circulation, and body’s balance system to improve running efficiency. Doing a proper warm-up together with liniment rubbing can result in increased muscle temperature to prepare for different types of running. Therefore, a warm-up should be included in your running routine to ensure that you can reach your running goals.