Prior to any rigorous activity it is important that the body is prepared properly. A thorough warm up reduces the risk of injury during the main training session and will improve performance.
As with many areas of sport, there are different approaches that can be adopted when warming up and organising a session – here we’ll use probably the most conventional "menu" for a session, which involves doing some (or all) of the following in this order:
- Warm up (Jog)
- Dynamic Stretch *
- Perform drills
- Plyometric Work
- Special speed work (if relevant e.g. block work or short sprints, only if plyometric work wasn't too excessive)
- Main running session
- Cool down (including Static Stretches) *
There are various schools of thought about the stretching before and after sessions. At Momentum Sports we believe in the merits of dynamic stretches before a session and static ones afterwards.
The aim of the warm up is to raise the body's temperature and put the muscles to be used through a range of motion equal to (or greater than) that of the main session, but under controlled circumstances. We like the idea of jogging prior to dynamic stretches, although these do take some effort and therefore raise the body's temperature as well - some coaches will go straight into these stretches without a jog.
The length of the warm up (including jog and dynamic exercises) should be about 10-15 minutes.
The stretches done whilst warming up should cover the whole body, including arms and trunk. After the warm up, it is time to start strides and drills.
Here is a video of many of the exercises we like to recommend you do during an active dynamic warm up.
It is perfectly feasible to do this in the far more confined space, if you don't have access to more than a few square metres.