We’ve stressed the importance of warming up adequately before training; successful, long-term runners see these initial 5-10 minutes of active stretching and drills as an integral part of their run that cannot be missed. This is particularly true when the session for the day involves high-intensity speed workouts. Jumping into a fast run from a sedentary state is the chief cause behind several common running injuries, which can be avoided by simply easing your body into the run after a thorough warm up. A systematic round of warm up drills helps increase your range of motion and also generates heat to keep your muscles and ligaments elastic. It also raises your heart rate in a methodical manner and activates your aerobic system. Jumping into your 10K speed without a slow start can cause glycogen levels to deplete and make you feel exhausted well before your finish. Here’s how to gently ease into your speed workouts through a combination of dynamic stretching and warm up drills.

Start with a jog
Jogging, even on the spot, involves your whole body and increases both your heart rate and blood flow. It’s a great warm up start for all your running sessions.

Stretch it right
The correct way to stretch during warm up is through dynamic stretches rather than just static stretching. Essentially, don’t hold a pose for so long that it takes away from the natural elasticity of your tissues that helps them store and reuse energy during aerobic training. Particular attention should be paid while stretching the muscles that you need the most, such as glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, core, chest and back.

Warm up drills
The whole point of drills is to take your body through specific actions that will prepare it for the upcoming speed training. Effective drills not only work on the muscles that you’ll use while running but also get your overall heart rate and blood flow energized so that by the time you’re running at your max speed, the entire body is activated and engaged. Here are some drills that you can include in your warm up.

Walking Quad

To actively stretch you quad muscle for speed training, grab your foot with the same side hand and pull back to feel a stretch on the front of your leg. Do this for ten yards, alternating legs each step. Do about 20 reps.

Deep Lunge

A deep active stretch for your core, groin and glutes is the deep lunge. Reach your elbow to the inside of the same ankle, and then rise into a hamstring stretch. Do this for about 10 steps front and back.

Lunge Twist

Similar to the deep lunge, take a big step, lean forward with your hips while rotating over the bent leg with your shoulders back.

Side Lunge

Facing sideways, take a lateral step and sink your hips down between your legs to stretch the groin muscle on each leg. Do this for ten reps and return facing the same direction.

Butt Kicks

To actively engage the hamstrings, butt kicks serve as a fast twitch drill. Do this for ten steps there and back, while keeping your weight slightly over your toes and your knees facing the ground.

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