How to Bookend Your Run

by | Mar 2024

Dynamic stretches such as opposite toe touches help warm up muscles before your run.

Dynamic stretches such as opposite toe touches help warm up muscles before your run. Pexels/Julia Larson

Whether you are preparing for the Luck O’ the Lake race or an upcoming event, bookend your run with a warm-up and cool-down to help your muscles perform optimally and recover.

As you begin to warm up, your blood vessels dilate, leading to increased blood flow. This primes your muscles with oxygen, allowing them to perform at their best. The blood flow increases the temperature in your muscles, preparing them to become more flexible. Remember, allow your heart rate to increase at a gradual pace.

Ease into this warm-up:

  1. Allow five to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise (briskly walking, slowly jogging or cycling on a stationary bike).
  2. Dynamic stretches are a great addition and should be done at an easy pace. They are not static stretches but more fluid in motion (walking lunges, jumping jacks or opposite toe touches).
  3. Jog slowly, building up your speed. Your breath is an indicator of your pace. Getting out of breath too fast could mean that you are pushing too hard.

Cool Down:

This keeps blood flowing throughout the body. When you suddenly stop, you can experience lightheadedness, caused by a rapid drop in heart rate and blood pressure.

Dial it Back:

  1. Jog or walk for five to 10 minutes. Your breathing and heart rate should gradually return to normal.
  2. Work on static stretching when the muscles are warm, allowing your joints to move through a fuller range of motion. Focus on stretching your hip flexors, quads and hamstrings and glutes.
  3. Drink water or an electrolyte-infused drink to rehydrate your body.

Take notice of how you felt after your workout when incorporating these techniques. The goal is to have an injury-free, rewarding and fun running season.

Laurel Famigletti, owner of EndorP.H.I.T, offers virtual group fitness classes, in-home training and virtual nutrition coaching.


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