I used to just put on my shoes and went out for a run. Now I can’t really do that. My already hyper-stable (i.e. not bendy) body hates me if I do that now, especially my calves and ankles. That means shorter runs and more recovery time between when I go out. Fortunately, I have some great tools and knowledge to help me out to create a dynamic warm up. When I take the time to prep before my runs, my running improves. I can move better, perform better, get more out of my runs, and recover faster.
What I do varies, but I do have a 15-18 minute routine that I typically do before I head out. The big areas of focus are: counteracting the sitting I’ve been doing more of lately and loosen up my ankles, which were given me a problem earlier in the year.
You can watch the entire routine sped up below. One aspect that is interesting when you record yourself is noticing that there is still work to do. Not every exercise was performed exactly correct.
- Rolling with Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls for my neck, upper back (thoracic spine), and chest muscles (pectoralis major & minor) to help with my breathing.
- Coregeous® ball rolling to loosen my psoas.
- Bridge lifts to wake up my sleepy sitting glutes.
- Hamstring slides for strength.
- Spat Frog with Internal Rotation. This Yoga Tune Up® exercise helps to release my adductors (inner thigh) muscles with dynamic movement. I’ll usually hang out in frog pose for a few breaths on its on too. Sometimes I’m shift my torso forward and back for different ranges.
- Full range calf raises. My ankles is pretty restricted in it’s range of movement. I notice that when I don’t hike or walk a lot, they seem even tighter. I find by utilizing a step or block to move through a full range that I can run better and have happier gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.
- Moon Rises are another Yoga Tune Up® exercise that fire up my external hip rotators, especially the gluteus medius. I notice that when I don’t do them before I run my left knee tends to internally rotate. As a bonus, there is rotation of the spine to activate the de-rotators.
- Reverse slide lunges prepare my legs for movement. I think about my hip position, my knee position, using my glutes to slide back, pulling my leg forward, and using the glutes on the front leg to come up. A dynamic movement that increases blood flow to the legs and prepares them for the run.
I try not to skip any of these before I head out, because this is what my body needs. For everyone it could be different. Where I’m weak, you might be strong and vice versa.
I’ll throw in a lot more if I have more time to roll around longer, fire up the core, and activate more muscles. That’s one of the bonuses of being someone obsessed with movement, I have a giant tool box of movement exercises to take care of the most important machine in my life: my body.