Any marathoner worth their salt knows the importance of warming up properly before a big race. There is a right way to warm up and a wrong way, and we are going to show you how to get your body ready to engage in long-distance running so that you avoid injuries.

Everyone tells you all the time how important it is to warm up before a run or a workout, but why is it so important? When you first get ready to run your muscles are cold and your joints and bones are tight. Even engaging in a small warm up will help warm up your muscles and loosen up everything else. When you are loose and ready to go you will not only be less likely to sustain an injury (such as pulling a muscle), but you will also be more likely to run longer and faster. As an extra benefit you will notice that your heart rate will come up quickly after warming up, which means you will be burning more calories at the start of your actual run.

So how do you warm up? Start by going for a light walk for about three to five minutes. Walking gets you ready for what’s to come (running!) by working on your range of motion and getting your blood flowing to your limbs. Next, add in strides. This is the best way to transition from walking to running, but be careful not to over-stride. This can result in injury. Also, don’t worry about timing your strides or doing every stride the same. You will want to do five to six 100-meter strides before the next step. Finally, do some dynamic stretching. This can be the fun part as dynamic stretching is very versatile. Skipping, side-stepping, walking lunges, and butt kickers are just a few of the dynamic stretches you can try. Increase your range of motion as you go along, and before you know it you’ll be ready to run.

If you have more concerns about how to properly warm up before a run, please call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule a consultation with us in one of our three Massachusetts offices: Haverhill, Lowell, or North Andover.