Improving your warm up for running

Your running warm-up is a great chance to prime yourself for a better quality run.  Warming up for exercise will always improve performance as it allows you to prepare for the harder work to come. Anything that raises your temperature and heart rate is a good thing but getting your warm up for running right is even better. A well-used form of warm up is the RAMP  style warm up. RAMP stands for

  • Raise temperature and heart rate
  • Activate the muscles to be used
  • Mobilise the joints
  • Potentiate or prime the body for the forces/intensities to be used

This sounds complicated and lengthy but it isn’t. Your running warm-up doesn’t need to take longer than 10 minutes. You take between 1000-2000 steps per mile when you are running (12-6 min/mile) steps. Add to this that you are absorbing upwards of 2.5 times your body weight through each leg. These two facts tell you that you need to do a bit more than some stretching before you head out. You need to get your brain talking with the rest of your body so that you are moving in a more coordinated manner. This is essential if you are to be int he best position to absorb the forces involved when you are running.


Static stretching is out of the roster when it comes to putting together a quality a running warm-up. Static stretching doesn’t really mobilise anything nor does it raise the temperature, heart rate or activating any muscles. For this reason we can ditch it.

To keep the warm up short we will make use of the lunge matrix. Using lunges in different directions enables you to mobilise the joints used  and activate the muscles. Doing it a circuit like fashion allows you to raise the core temperature and heart rate.

Following the lunge matrix we can then do some technique style movements. By using these after the lunge matrix you are more likely to be able to hit the correct positions. The next two movements further prepare you by targeting the type of actions performed when running.

The two movements are designed to help you get the feel for accepting weight onto the lead leg. By emphasising the soft knee position and foot position they carry over well into the positions you hot when running. The first one teches you to roll through from heel to toe, accepting your weight on a gently bent knee. The second, where you step out to the side, places a little more stress onto the glute medius. This really helps create good stability on foot contact.

P for potentiate

Now it’s time to potentiate the lower body. To potentiate the lower body we use short hops or bounds, single or multiple depending on space.  The hops/bounds need follow the stepping drills as you need to hit the same angles at the knee. You don’t need to do a lot of these and 3 sets of 3 reps is plenty.

You are now well prepared for your run. Higher intensity sessions  should be proceeded with easy running if it is a tempo style run. If you are performing a track session there are other options that should be considered and we will cover them in another post.



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