Every runner is eager to start running once they put on their shoes. This enthusiasm is great but you have to take time to hydrate, warm up and stretch before a long run. Skipping these steps can result in injury and/or dehydration. Failing to prepare your body for a run can also cause you to burn out early on. You want to bring up the heart rate, increase body temperature, loosen the muscles, cushion joints and energize the body. The only way to do that is by warming up and stretching. Here’s how to warm up and stretch before a long run.
Before focusing on warming up and stretching, pre-hydration is crucial. Pre-hydration should actually begin a few days before a long run. To do this, drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages on the days leading up to the run. On the day of the run drink two 8 oz. glasses about an hour prior, no more no less. This avoids having a lot of water moving around in your stomach while running. Make sure you have your Hydrosleeve® Hydration Pack ready for the run to help you have sipping points during your run.
After you hydrate you want to warm up. A warm up should take place before stretching because you never want to stretch a cold muscle. To warm up, perform any aerobic exercise you like. This can be a light jog, jumping rope, jogging in place with knee highs or cycling. All you need is 7-10 minutes.
After your body temperature and heart rate is up, switch your focus to stretching. Before running a long distance, perform dynamic stretches that use full range of motion. These will target the glutes, hips, thighs, quads, hamstrings and calves while rehydrating the fascia to keep joints cushioned. Start by completing 10 walking lunges per leg. They open up the major muscles used while running. Then move into a kneeling hip flexor stretch. For this stretch start in a lunge position with the front knee bent at a ninety degree angle. From here, begin to straighten your back leg with arms extended upwards. Hold once you feel the stretch. After focusing on the hip flexors move on and complete 10-15 calf raises, a set of side stretches (to avoid that dreaded side pain while running) and a few hip circles to keep that area nice and loose.
Overall, preparing for a run is easy. Just remember to pre-hydrate, warm up and stretch.