You have trained for months preparing for your goal race, and now you are feeling primed for a great performance. However, without a race-specific warm up to rev up your neural, thermal and cardiovascular systems for high performance, months of dedicated training can be negated by race day frustration.
What should your pre-race warm consist of? Not every race benefits from the exact same warm up. In general, the shorter the race, the more intense and the longer the warm up should be. The weather is also a key factor. The hotter the day, the less easy running you need. Below are some examples of pre-race warm ups:
- 20 to 25 minutes jog including a total of 2 min (broken into manageable segments if necessary) @ mile race effort. Full recovery then dynamic exercises* and 5 x 100 meter (m) @ goal mile pace.
- 15 to 25 minutes jog including 2 min @ 10k feel. Full recovery then dynamic exercises* and 6 x 100m @ 5k feel.
- 15 minutes jog including 2 min @ HM effort. Full recovery then dynamic exercises* and 6 x 100m @ half marathon feel.
- 5 minutes jog including dynamic exercises* and 5 x 100m @ marathon effort.
Begin your 100m efforts about 10 minutes before your race starts and finish the last 100m rep about 1 minute before the starting gun fires.
If race day temperatures are in 80’s or warmer, your goal is to keep your core temperature as cool as possible while still preparing your muscles neurally to run fast. Jog just enough to allow you to build safely into the few minutes of fast running before doing your dynamic stretching and 100 m race-pace efforts.
It is important to practice your warm up routine in training.
In a future RE article, I will discuss visualization which is another crucial component of a successful warm up. For now, focus on a warm up that includes some faster running and dynamic exercises to help optimize your race day potential.
* See Dynamic Warm Up Exercises for Runners as described by PT John Fiore’s in his previous RE article HERE.
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