Before You Run: The Dynamic Warm-Up

Hips and Knees: Try these two options:

    Knee Hugs - Standing with great posture, grab one knee with both hands and bring it up toward your chest. Maintain balance on the lower leg by firing the glute. Release the knee and step forward with that leg. Alternate legs while stepping forward for 10 yards.

    Forward Lunge with a Twist - Lunge forward with one leg while keeping hips, knees, and ankles in line and hips parallel to the ground. Forward foot should be planted firmly on the ground to activate your glute. Hold that position strong while first reaching up with the arm of your lower leg, then reach the same arm to the outside of the forward leg to get a rotational stretch. Hold stretches for two seconds each. Face forward once again and return to standing using the strength of your forward leg.

More: 5 Hip-Strengthening Exercises for Runners

Ankles and Feet: Do the all-important Calf Raise and Calf Stretch. This will not only warm up your calves and the muscles and ligaments of your ankles and feet, but will also stretch out your plantar fascia and prepare it to take on the forces of your running stride.

    Calf Raise and Stretch: Either keep it simple by raising your calves up and down while standing in place, or find a wall or a large tree trunk and, while facing it, stand three to four feet away with both hands on the wall. After doing a posture check, lift one leg just off the ground and raise the other calf by coming up all the way up on your toes. Hold that position for two seconds, then release and push the heel of that foot into the ground to get a calf stretch. Then bend the knee and continue to stretch. Repeat 10 times on each side.

4. Put it all Together With Some Marching and Skipping

You've moved all your parts, now it's time to get the heart rate even higher, and give you control of your movement instead of gravity.

    Forward March: Maintaining great posture and keeping your upper body as quiet as possible, march forward by bringing each knee up one at a time. Keep your toes pulled up toward your shin and hit the ground directly beneath your body, on your midfoot, each step forward. Drive your elbows back and keep them at 90 degrees throughout the drill. Do this over 10 yards twice.

    Forward Skip: Same as the march, except you alternate with one foot bouncing on the ground while one hip drives up as in the march, then both feet bounce together, then the opposite leg, then both feet. Repeat. Again, cover about 10 yards twice. Or something similar, as long as you are actively changing the direction of force on the ground and getting your heart rate up while keeping great posture and opening up the hips.

More: 9 Causes of Hip Pain During and After Running

The Two-Minute Version

  1. Glute Bridge or Lateral Lunge
  2. Forward Lunge with a Twist or Knee Hugs
  3. Forward Skip

You're committed. Your mind is strong and will only get stronger. Make sure you give your body the best chance you can give it so you can do all that you'd love to do with it. Because you can!

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Jessi Stensland is a professional triathlete who races all types of endurance events. She's also a video producer and an expert on the subjects of movement efficiency and true athleticism as it relates to endurance performance. Learn more about her adventures on her website, GoJessi.com.

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