How to Warm up For a Run + Simple Running Warm up Exercises

September 18, 2020

Running is an easy exercise nearly anyone can do. Whether you fancy running outside or staying indoors on a treadmill or track, it’s easy to make a run part of your exercise plan. One of the things that makes running popular is the fact you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get started. With these top tips on how to warm up for a run you’ll soon be all set to get your new exercise routine on the go!

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But before you strap on your shoes and get moving, you’ll need to prep accordingly. You can’t just hit the road, because running at top speed right away could lead to a sprain or muscle strain. To keep yourself safe and injury-free, you need to learn how to warm up properly. It can also make sure you hit your stride and see the biggest benefit from your run. This way, you’ll enjoy your run and feel great when you reach your target distance.

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Why is it Important to Warm Up For a Run?

Any exercise will get your body moving. But jumping right into any strenuous activity can cause harm to different parts of your body. You run the risk of straining your muscles, joints, or ligaments. It also raises the chance you set the wrong pace and have to slow down because you simply can’t keep it up. You might have to quit before you’ve reached your top speed, or the full potential in your run. You could also feel short of breath as your body works harder to compensate for the abrupt start. 

It’s important to warm up to keep these problems from happening. After all, an injury could keep you off your feet and unable to run for some time. So give your muscles a chance to get prepared for the road ahead and discover warm-up activities that will work for you. 

A good warmup helps your muscles, joints, and bones loosen up and stretch, improving your performance as you run. By starting at a slower pace, you can gradually ease into the routine. Your heart rate will climb more slowly, allowing you to breathe properly to see better performance as you get into the swing of your run. No matter which simple warm-up activity you choose, make it a part of your routine for the best success.

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How to Warm up For a Run – Simple Running Warm-up Exercises

Learning how to warm up for a run doesn’t need to be complicated. You just need a great warm-up exercise to start off with! You may need to try a few before you find one that you love. It should wake up your body and help you avoid pain. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to try the next time you head out for a run.

  1. Start out by walking. Walking is a great way to get your body into motion. You’ll use the same muscles as in your run, but the slow pace will get them prepared for action. Choose a slow, steady pace for around 10 to 15 minutes before you start running.
  2. Use a foam roller. A foam roller can do wonders for sore or stiff muscles. Spend about a minute on each section that feels tight. You should roll your back, then hit every area in your legs, buttocks, and hips.
  3. Jump rope. This is an easy task to help warm you up. Choose a steady pace that easy to keep up for about five to ten minutes. It should get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, without making you feel tired.
  4. Try walking lunges. This warmup will get your legs ready to move and get your blood flowing. Do 20 to 30 walking lunges, making sure to stretch your muscles and work out both legs. Keep an eye on your form, you don’t want to lunge too deeply.
  5. Stretch. But avoid static stretches that you hold for long periods of time, and choose dynamic stretches that will get your body into motion instead. It includes a series of continuous movements designed to prepare each part of your body used in a run, stretching and loosening your muscles and joints. Read on to learn about the best dynamic warmup for running.

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Popular Stretches For Runners

Stretching is another great way to prepare your muscles for physical activity. Everyone should stretch before a run to keep their muscles flexible. This way your muscles are at their full range of motion before you embark on your run. Here are 5 great stretches for running that will make your exercise even better and keep you from injury.

  1. Stretch your hamstrings. Your hamstrings are in the back part of your thigh from your hip to your knee. To get your hamstrings ready for your run, sit on the ground. Start with your left leg and extend it, moving your right foot until it touches the inside of your leg. Lean forward with your back kept as straight as possible, like you’re reaching for your toes. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, then repeat with your other leg.
  2. Stretch your quadriceps muscles. This muscle is in your thighs, covering most of the front and sides. It’s very important to stretch your quadriceps, especially if you are running any type of incline. Stand upright, and pull your leg behind you. Then, pull your shin towards your thigh to give that muscle a workout! Hold the position for at least 30 seconds before switching to your other side.
  3. Stretch your calf muscles. This is a key area to tend to before your run. Failing to stretch properly could lead to soreness or injury. To stretch, stand with your right foot forward, in front of your left. Bend your right leg forward, keeping your back leg straight. Keep your back straight and hold the pose for 30 seconds, then repeat with your other leg.
  4. Stretch your hips. As you run, your hips can get tight. But they also get tight from sitting! So a stretch is best to increase your body’s responsiveness before you start your run. Kneel on your right knee, with your toes down and your left foot in front. Aim for 90-degree angles with both knees. Put your hands on your left thigh, pressing your hips forward until you feel it in your right hip. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Stretch your buttocks. Although it may be out of sight, you should still take care to stretch your buttocks. They play a vital role in your run, so keep them stretched for better running performance. Lay on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your left ankle over your right knee. Grab your right knee, and draw it to your chest. Hold it for 30 seconds before switching sides.

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Best Dynamic Warmup For Running

A dynamic warm-up is a popular approach to different kinds of exercise, making it a great fit before your next run. It gets all the joints in your body moving. You’ll start by getting each one moving on its own and then together, working your body through a routine that is designed to loosen and stretch your muscles until everything is lined up and ready to go. 

Your dynamic warmup will include controlled movements that mimic the motions you use during your run. Moves like forward lunges, jumping jacks, and high knee stretches will all help you prepare your body for the exercise ahead. You’ll take your body through a series of stretches, gradually increasing how much of your body is involved. The short intervals are the best way to get ready to run! 

By the time you complete this warm-up, you can be confident your joints are prepped for the exercise ahead.

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How Long Does a Running Warm up Take?

Knowing how long your warm-up should take can be helpful for a number of reasons. Not only will you know if you’re doing enough to warm up by hitting the full time needed, but you can plan out your exercise schedule to include this important step. This way, you won’t skip it because you’re running short on time! It’s important to make your warm up a regular part of your run. 

A full warm-up should take about 10 minutes, but you can choose a simple warmup that is around 5 minutes long. As you warm up, figure out how long you need to feel ready. Remember that a light warm-up is better than no warm-up at all. 

You can increase how long your warm-up takes too. Perhaps you feel a bit sleepy one day before your morning run. Take a bit of extra time warming up until you feel alert and ready! Or if you feel strain in a certain part of your body, you should take more time with this particular area. Increase how long you spend warming this part up to work out any strain carefully.


You already know running is a great way to get and stay in shape. But now, you understand how important it is to warm up before your run! You can try out one of these great warm-up activities to prepare your muscles, joints, and ligaments for the task ahead. When you see improved running performance, you’ll be glad you did!

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