With all the excitement before a race, some runners are tempted to do more race-focused warm-up exercises. This can easily lead to overexertion if you are doing an unfamiliar warm-up that your body isn’t accustomed to. We collected tips from Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie to make sure that you can start your race feeling calm and flexible.
Have a warm-up routine
If warm-up exercises aren’t a regular part of your workout routine, you should get familiar with it before your next race. A good warm up routine plays a key role in preparing your body for the upcoming strain of a race.
Two-time Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie combines classic warm-up exercises with special running technique drills. He showed us a few of them during his visit to the adidas Runtastic Headquarters. We’ve selected five exercises for you:
Running Training: Top 3 Stretches
1. Hip Flexor Stretch
This stretch starts off in the lunge position. Your front knee is bent, and your back leg is stretched out. Lean forward into the stretch and bounce lightly. This is great if you’ve got tight hip flexors.
Do it right:
Make sure that when you do the lunge, your front knee is above your ankle so that you protect your knee joint and avoid overstretching. The thigh of your front leg should be parallel to the floor. Placing both hands above your knee will give you more stability.
2. Knee Hug Stretch
Start this stretch by standing up straight on one leg. Grab your other leg with both hands just below your knee and pull it towards you. This stretches your glutes and hips.
There is a lot of talk about stretching before a run. Static stretching is recommended after your running training. Any stretching you do to warm up before working out should be dynamic. This means you slowly stretch into a position or you gradually pull the particular body part closer to your body. Your muscles will be activated rather than relaxed.
3. Hamstring Stretch
In a standing position, cross your legs and slowly bend your upper body forward. Now gently rock your upper body down into the stretch. Stand up again slowly and repeat the stretch with your legs crossed the other way. Lean into it until you feel a nice stretch along the back of your thigh down to your knee.
When you warm up, do each stretch for about 20 seconds. Repeat the stretches two times.
Top 2 running Technique Drills
1. C Skip
The C Skip is the advanced version of A and B Skips. You can find this and other drills on the adidas Runtastic blog.
To do the C Skip, you skip forward on the balls of your feet, pulling your knees up until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then your leg rotates outward, opening your hip, and moves in a circular motion back to the starting position. Switch sides and repeat. This combination of moves should come together into a flowing, dynamic exercise.
2. High Knees with Upper Body Rotation
In this coordination exercise you run forward, pulling each knee up. In this variation of the traditional high knees exercise, your upper body rotates as well. This means when your right knee is up, your left shoulder turns to the right.
Good to know:
You only need about 30 to 50 meters of space to do this drill. When you are done it’s helpful to jog lightly for a few meters to find your regular rhythm again.
Here’s how to integrate your warm up into your daily training
Make sure you don’t neglect your warm up even if you aren’t training for a race by making it a permanent part of your training plan. Twenty minutes of running drills per week is enough to boost your performance. Targeted running drills are highly recommended before interval training. Have fun trying out the different exercises!
Want more tips from running pro Haile Gebrselassie?
Listen to the exclusive adidas Runtastic podcast with the “Lion of Ethiopia” and find out all about his incredible running career. (Podcast only available in English.)
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