As mentioned in previous articles regarding race preperation & interval sessions ; a warm-up is important to include.
A warm-up generally will consist of easy jogging for at least 10 minutes & maybe some strides or short sprints to raise your heart rate & get your muscles prepared for the effort ahead.
As an added part of this warm-up a short dynamic stretching routine is worth including. This type of stretching involves continuous movement of joints & muscles as opposed to the more well known static stretching which of course has its benefits but is more suited to include in your post race/ training session routine. With static stretching you hold a stretch without moving, while with dynamic, you move through a range of motion. The key for runners is to target the muscle groups used for running. You want to warm up with flexion and extension of the legs, and lateral movements.
Dynamic stretching has the multiple benefits of raising your core temperature & heart rate; increasing your range of movement, activating the key muscle groups for running & allowing for an easier flow of blood & oxygen to these muscles making you more limber as well as helping you get rid of any pre-race sluggishness (as I mentioned last week!). In many ways what it does in the final moments before a race or hard session is wakes your body & mind up properly in a way a more relaxed less intense warm-up/ stretching routine would.
Below are 5 ( there are many more) examples of simple dynamic stretching routines you can implement in your training / race regime :
These exercises can be done walking or jogging & should consist of no more than 50m in distance . A good way to do them is back & forth doing the same exercise twice. Try avoid uneven, hard surfaces.
Moving forward bring your knees up towards your chest in an exaggerated normal walking/jogging style
While standing tall, walk/jog forward with an exaggerated backswing so that your heels come up to your glutes.
Step forward using a long stride, keeping the front knee over or just behind your toes. Lower your body by dropping your back knee toward the ground. Maintain an upright posture and keep your abdominal muscles tight.
Straight Leg Jog
Jog forward while trying not to bend your knees . Kick your legs forward keeping them dead straight while pumping the arms to help propel you forward. Great for tight hip flexors!
Spring off the ground moving forward raising one bent leg up towards your chest & pumping opposite arm high in the air. Keep moving forward switching leg & arm each time. The aim is to feel as if you are hanging in the air each time you spring forward.