My running warm up

Happy Saturday, superstars!

RuPaul is the super-est star that I am aware of
RuPaul is the super-est star that I am aware of

Is everybody having a wonderful weekend? Are you doing exciting things? I’m listening to Bon Jovi in lab while I’m waiting for cells to grow.

Not so exciting.
Not so exciting.

I think it’s time to take a break from preparing a lecture about DNA recombination and check in with you, my gentle readers.

My students are going to eat this up.
My students are going to eat this up.

I know that one of my New Year’s Realizations was that I hope to spend less time on Saturdays alone in lab, and more time romping around having adventures. So far I appear to be failing at this particular goal. As soon as I finish this set of experiments I will be ready to re-submit my manuscript for publication and hopefully put mutation rate measurements behind me.

These experiments are INVOLVED
These experiments are INVOLVED

What can I say? I’m totally full of shit but at least I recognize my own shortcomings.

As your coach, I am disappointed in you.
As your coach, I am disappointed in you.

However, the point of this post is NOT to have a pity party. I think it would be more interesting to celebrate one healthy habit that I don’t have trouble sticking to: warming up before I run.

Yay for stretching!
Yay for stretching!

It’s vitally important to thoroughly warm up your muscles before you start to exercise. Maintaining strength and flexibility is one of the keys to running happy, healthy, and injury-free.

Not to mention doing stupid-human tricks in interesting places
Not to mention doing stupid-human tricks in interesting places

As I mentioned when I announced my un-retirement I’ve been struggling with a metatarsal stress fracture for the past two months. I won’t claim that a proper warm-up is a magic panacea for injury prevention. You can’t lunge your way around an overly aggressive training schedule or poor nutrition. Stretching doesn’t make you bulletproof.

If only...
If only…

However, performing a quick dynamic stretching routine before you head out the door is still a great habit. The key word here is “dynamic.” Systematic studies have revealed that static stretching doesn’t really do jack-shit for runners. However, loosening up your muscles, and getting your heart rate up just a little bit  before heading out the door does, in fact, help prevent injuries. Not to mention the fact that warming up your body BEFORE you run makes the first miles feel a whole lot better.

Blerg…shoulda warmed up. 

I adapted my own personal warm-up routine from Matt Fitzgerald’s Brain Training for Runners.  I go through a series of dynamic motions aimed to increase balance and flexibility, with a sprinkling of core-work thrown in for fun. Are you ready gentle readers? Let’s get warmed UP!

I start by going through the motions of SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFTS.


With one leg firmly planted on the floor I lean forward and tough the ground in front of me, while raising he other leg straight back behind me. Repeat 10 times on each side, alternating legs.

Next I do a series of HIGH KICKS. 


I channel my inner Can-Can dancer, swinging one extended leg up and forward, trying to kick my palm in front of my face.

Next I like to wake up my core and upper body with some PUSH UPS.


I usually intersperse sets of 25 push ups with 100 BICYCLE CRUNCHES.



I finish up my core-work with BRIDGE.IMG_6024

Next I climb up off of the floor, and pay attention to my hamstrings, with FRONT LUNGES. IMG_6019

I step forward 10 times on each side. Make sure you don’t let your bent knee extend past your front toes.

Running is largely a series of forward and backwards motions, but it’s important to pay attention to the muscles that help us move laterally. I always follow up front lunges with a series of 10 SIDE LUNGES to each side.


Finally, I finish up with some SINGLE LEG SWINGSIMG_6021

It helps me to put one hand on the wall for balance as I swing each leg back and forth 10 times. I like to do one forward/backward set, followed by some SIDE LEG SWINGS.IMG_6023


This might seem like a whole lot of rigamarole to go through before every singe run, but I find that the 10 minutes I invest into warming up are well worth it! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all. Incorporating a dynamic stretching warm up into your routine is a small tweak that can offer some BIG benefits.

HAVE a GROOVY Saturday!

4 thoughts on “My running warm up

Add yours

  1. I had read the downer study on static stretching, but didn’t know the blessings of dynamic stretches. I’ll have to start doing this…

    Ummm…just what does dynamic stretching actually mean??


    1. Hahaha- you gotta find the motion of the ocean! Dynamic means I’m not just holding a lunge, I’m moving the whole time: swinging my legs, doing the Can Can, etc. My warm up looks a little ridiculous, but then again, so do I.


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