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Do I Need to Warm Up Before a Run?

Runners Are Skipping This Essential Part of Their Workout

A few months ago at Kezar Stadium in SF, Adidas invited us to do some run training with all-star athletes: pro marathoner Neely Spence Gracey, Olympian Dominique Scott-Efrud, and Team USA middle distance runner Brianna Felnagle.

The one thing they said that really struck a chord with me? "We don't run to warm up; we warm up to run." It's a fact that so many runners, myself included, totally neglect — running warmups are so important. Think about it: every time you go to a group fitness class or do a workout video at home, there's some kind of warmup, right? So why do we bypass this when we go for a run? As the athletes emphasized during our training, "Running isn't a warmup."

So what is an appropriate running warmup? Their categories of emphasis were "agility, stability, and mobility." Here are some moves we did with pro runners before going for a jaunt around the track.

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Walking Hamstring Dips

  • With a soft bend in your left leg, take a step forward with your right leg, flexing your right toes toward your face.
  • Flip your palms to face forward and, hinging at the hips, reach forward toward your toes in a sweeping motion. Sweep your hands down, forward, and up as you return to standing.
  • Step your left foot up to meet your right. Repeat on the left side.
  • Continue for 30 to 60 seconds

Walking Standing Kicks

  • Exhale to engage the abs as you kick your right leg up, bringing your left hand to your right toes, doing a small crunch. When you return your foot to the ground, take a small step forward.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.

Heel Raises

  • Position your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly raise your heels until you're on your tiptoes, then slowly lower back down to the ground. Take three slow counts to raise and lower your heels.
  • Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Rima Brindamour
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