Warming up your muscles is an important part of your workout that needs to be done before every run. Without it, you increase the risk of injury and predispose yourself to irreversible long term damage. Dynamic stretching is useful before competition and has been shown to reduce muscle tightness. Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretches are not held, but use motion to do sport specific movements. Begin each workout with the following dynamic stretches, in the order which they are listed:
- Toe Walks-Walk on your tip toes in either a circle or in a pacing pattern for approximately 1-2 minutes
- Heel Walks-Walk on your heels in either a circle or in a pacing pattern for approximately 1-2 minutes. Do about 30 seconds of toe walks again following heel walks
- High Knees-Do a walking march, lifting your knees high; keep your toes pointing straight ahead, not towards the ground. Do this for about 1-2 minutes
- Squats-Everyone’s favorite! Do a standard squat but focus on putting your weight on your heels, not your toes. It should be like you’re sitting back into a seat. Keep your back as straight as possible, and hold arms out in front for balance. Do 10-20 of these.
- Lunges-It’s difficult to describe proper form in writing, so make sure you are watching your coaches during group warm-up to see what it should look like. Your knee should not extend past your toes. One lunge on each leg equals one complete lunge set. Do 10 at first, work up to 20.
- Jog in Place-Jog in place while bringing your knees as high as possible. Do this for 20 seconds.
- Butt Kicks-Jog in place except this time kick your legs back like you’re trying to touch your heels to your butt. Do for 20 seconds.