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Top 5 Warm-Up Exercises for Runners

Marathon running race, people feet on city road

I’ve recently taken up trail running since moving from Florida to a much higher elevation in Colorado and have gained a new appreciation for the power of a thorough warm-up routine. Heading out on the trail, road or treadmill for that adventurous run without a proper full-body (and mind) warm-up can be a setup for disaster. Without pumping oxygen-rich blood into those muscles and loosening up the joints, tendons and ligaments, you may experience lack of concentration, extra soreness, fatigue and an overall discouraging feeling about the run.

A good pre-run warm-up needs to consist of exercises and moves that gradually and effectively circulate warm blood through the body while giving your mind a chance to clear, focus and plan for the extended movement ahead. I like to keep things simple (not easy, mind you, but accessible) and functional so you experience a smooth transition from your pre-run self to that person who soars along while savoring that runner’s high. It’s all about that high, isn’t it? To attain it you must plan for it … and that’s where these five warm-up exercises for runners come into play.

For the top five warm-up exercises for runners video below (or here!) I’ve included a few classic and time-proven moves that many runners swear by. I’ve also included some unique variations which are based in my expertise — yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and pretty much any kind of bodyweight-only movement. Our core (abdominals, low back, hips and gluteus) must always be at the center of our movement so I’ve added some “core-centered” exercises that are inspired by the wonderful worlds of yoga and Pilates. These are bodyweight-only exercises and can be done anywhere, even in the smallest of spaces because you never know how much room you’ll have in which to warm up.

So, check out the exercises and keep an eye out for a few “extra credit” options! I recommend doing each one comfortably until your body feels warm and loose. Then you’re ready to roll … or run.

Warm-Up Exercises for Runners

Happy trails, my friends! —Sean

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