Getting the warm-up right

How do you warm up for a race or workout? If you're like most high school and college runners, your warm-up is probably not too far off from Joe Rubio's humorous characterization of the typical runner's pre-workout routine:

"10-15 min easy. 4 half-hearted strides. BS a bit. Run the workout"

This might be a sufficient warm-up if you're a novice runner.  But if you're at all serious about competitive running, it's well worth the time to take your warm-up more seriously. 

Today, I'd like to take a look at several elements of the warm-up and consider how a more advanced runner might use them to his or her advantage.

To be clear, the purpose of a warm-up is to get your body ready for the demands of the workout (or the race).  As a result, different workouts or different races will necessarily demand different warm-up routines, as will different individual runners. 

If you warm up for a 10k the same way you warm up for a mile, you probably need to reconsider your warm-up routine.  In this article, we will analyze several elements of the warm-up routine and discuss various ways to modify them based on the situation.

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Brief Thoughts: Long easy runs in marathon training

The long run is a central piece of marathon training for everyone from recreational marathoners all the way up to national-level competitors.  There are a lot of reasons why distance runners, and marathoners in particular, do long runs; these include increasing mitochondrial and capillary density, improving leg strength and resilience to the pounding of a ... Read more

Notes on Randall Wilber's "Altitude Training and Athletic Performance" for runners

If you are interested in altitude training, Randall Wilber’s book “Altitude Training and Athletic Performance” is a fantastic read. I apologize for the lack of posts recently, but I’m recovering from arthroscopic hip surgery last week and am not up for doing a whole lot of sitting (in fact, I’m typing this out standing at ... Read more

Brief Thoughts: Are hard workouts counterproductive?

Since my mission to write a set of comprehensive articles detailing the most common running injuries (the “Injury Series” here on RunningWritings) has morphed into a colossal undertaking, I’ve decided to break things up a bit with a new occasional, hopefully weekly series entitled “Brief Thoughts,” which I intend to be shorter, less-scientific musings on ... Read more

When threshold training isn't threshold training

Most runners are familiar with threshold training.  It's been the chief contribution to real-world training from the field of exercise physiology.  In principle, it's simple: there is a "tipping point," physiologically speaking, when incremental increases in speed become progressively more difficult.  Training right at this sweet spot should raise the threshold, moving that "tipping point" ... Read more

The cumulative damage theory of injuries

I've had injuries on the brain lately.  Why do they happen? My high school's training room had a sign outside that said "Running injury? TOO MUCH, TOO FAR, TOO SOON."  Needless to say, the trainer wasn't very helpful.  But the medical/scientific consensus isn't much more helpful than that.  Overuse injuries are "tissue damage that results ... Read more

New York Times article on running surface stiffness

The New York Times has a nasty habit of writing poorly-researched exercise science articles. They go something like this: A new study by professor so-and-so at such-and-such university upends some widely-accepted fact about exercise, and we're darn luck to have these scientists (and the clever journalist) telling us that common sense is wrong.  You have ... Read more

Something New in Training: The Methods of Renato Canova

Renato Canova is a world-famous coach who instructs many of the best athletes in the world.  He has worked with the Italian national team in the past, but today, he works mainly with athletes in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda.  His athletes have won Olympic and World Championship medals, as well as setting national and world ... Read more

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